HITS Daily Double
My time was mostly spent in line waiting for a corn dog and water, which cost as much as three meals. Two amazing bands, the ol’ skool Pixies and maybe the best band in the world, Radiohead, capped off the night. It was my first time seeing them live, and I got to tell you, they were flat out brilliant. Thom Yorke, who was still pretty sick, put on an amazing show even though his voice wasn’t up to par. The energy, the lights, the crowd going crazy… truly an unforgettable experience.


It’s a Real Mother of a Planner This Week, As Van Helsing Opens, Lakers-Spurs Continues, Morrissey Moans, Muse Shines and Falco is Glorious While the Carradines and Los Lobos Uphold the F
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, but unless your mom is a real Popcult hipster or sports fanatic, she’d probably prefer a dozen roses or a luxury spa visit to a screening of Van Helsing or a seat on the couch for Sunday’s Game 3 of the so-far anticlimactic Lakers-Spurs series. Still, there are plenty of ways to show mom you care without necessarily being bored to death, though we can’t think of any at the moment. 1-800-flowers.com offers some great gifts for under $50, and all it takes is a coupla clicks of the mouse and your credit card number. And, of course, Hallmark has plenty of customized sentiments for those who can’t think up any themselves, which is precisely where Weakend Planner comes in. We do everything except serve your mom breakfast in bed. That’s your job.

I’ll be spending the whole weekend down in Laguna with my mom. However, girls love to shop, so she and my sis will be out at the malls, and during that time, my father and I will be checking out Van Helsing. This movie has been on my must-see list since I caught the poster for it nearly six months ago. Yeah, I know… I’m a dork, but hey, I’m also a movie lover, and this one looks awesome!! I mean, Frankenstein, Dracula and Wolfman in the same movie, come on now!!! On top of that it stars Kate Beckinsale, who is drop-dead gorgeous and worth the price of admission alone. As a longtime Clippers fan, I’ll also be watching the Lakers-Spurs game. This is the most stressful time of the year, because I need the Lakers to lose, and up until last year, it rarely happened. So, go go go, San Antonio. (Je-C)

Lakers fans, be grateful. Three NBA titles back-to-back-to-back is a rare feat in this day and age. Shaq, Kobe and Phil have brought us thrills, chills and rings.

Be grateful, because those halcyon days are long gone. This current crop of Lakers are way past their "sell by date." There are so many reasons given for their current "rock & hard place" predicament. There's talk of the triangle, of Phil, lack of execution, no more desire, ego, selfishness, drama, etc., etc., etc. Actually, the reason for their impending demise is pretty simple. Last spring, this team was embarrassingly bounced by a team that was younger, more athletic and in better physical condition. So what was the Laker response? Karl Malone, Gary Payton and Horace Grant. What? Are you kidding me? This team needs to get younger and more athletic so the Lakers decide to get OLDER, SLOWER AND IN WORSE PHYSICAL CONDITION??

Combine that with Kobe's life-altering off-season and Shaq's overall lack of professionalism and you've got what the L.A. Times accurately referred to as a "noxious mix of players." I feel badly for Karl, who has brought toughness, effort and class to Los Angeles. However, Payton has been another story. After saying all the right things during the summer, he has proven to be another ego-filled, selfish ex-star, who can't bear to admit that his skills have eroded and further poisoned the team in the process.

We would be greatly remiss if we did not give the San Antonio Spurs due credit. They are a rare combination of youth, athleticism, unselfishness, discipline, commitment and grace. Quite frankly, everything the Lakers are not. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are a tandem for the ages. An era that many thought would be defined by another Laker juggernaut, in reality looks to be delineated by these Spurs, who have won two rings already and are looking for a lot more. (Joel Amsterdam)

Mark Heisler:
The L.A. Times columnist consistently turns out illuminating pieces on the NBA, with inside poop and candid takes you won’t find anywhere else—with the possible exception of the N.Y. Post’s wisecracking Pete Vecsey. Heisler’s column on Wednesday, prior to the San Antonio Spurs’ Game Two surgery on the Lakers, was a fascinating recounting of the last decade of the Spurs franchise that culminated in a detailed answer to the frequently asked question, “Where did they find those guys?” As Heisler explains, the team and its key piece, the great Tim Duncan, were rescued from possible long-term mediocrity via a couple of moves by Coach (and longtime GM) Gregg Popovich that seemed rather esoteric at the time—the signings of Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. The Spurs took the little-known Ginobili, from Argentina, with the #57 pick of 1999 draft, while Parker, then 18 and playing for Paris Basket Racing—that’s Paris, France, not Texas—was passed over by 27 teams before San Antonio grabbed him with the final pick of the first round in 2001. And just like that, the Spurs took themselves from the middle of the pack to greatness—greatness that will likely be sustained for years to come on the shoulders of these three young superstars. This is a good yarn, and Heisler tells it with characteristic panache. I was hooked from the lead sentence: “Tony and ‘Teemy,’ a love story.” So cut Heisler some slack for his obsession with the boneheadedness of Donald Sterling, which he addresses in open letters to the Clippers owner before, during and after every season. (Bud Scoppa)

1. Coachella: I tried to be slick and get a ride with someone so I wouldn’t have to deal with the traffic; however, it backfired because the guy who took me was a complete and utter moron. The only good thing was that I was with my rock band and we had pressed up promo CDs to pass out and people were so star-struck by the limo that when I emerged to hand them out, they were salivating. I did all this while we were in stop-and-go traffic. I would rather not go into detail, but if you are curious, please email me at [email protected] for the whole story. Anyway, by the time we arrived, I had missed …Trail of the Dead and all but one song of Death Cab for Cutie. My time was mostly spent in line waiting for a corn dog and water, which cost as much as three regular meals. Two amazing bands, the ol’ skool Pixies and maybe the best group in the world, Radiohead, capped off the night. It was my first time seeing 'Head live, and I got to tell you, they were flat out brilliant. Thom Yorke, who was still pretty sick, put on an amazing show even though his voice wasn’t up to par. The energy, the lights, the crowd going crazy… truly an unforgettable experience. (Je-C)

2. Morrissey, You Are the Quarry (Attack/Sanctuary): Reminiscent of Bryan Ferry’s solo albums, the first new music from the Godfather of Emo in seven years is perhaps his most personal yet, which is saying a great deal considering his own predilection for self-deprecating, soul-baring confessionals. Within the first three tracks, he’s already taken aim on his adopted home ("America Is Not the World"), his native land (the first single, "Irish Blood, English Heart") and religion ("I Have Forgiven Jesus"). And that’s without even getting to the sardonically typical "The World Is Full of Crashing Bores" and the tongue-in-cheek look back at his own cultish career ("You Know I Couldn’t Last"). The musical style, though it was produced by punk auteur Jerry Finn (Green Day, AFI, Blink-182), buries the crunching guitar behind some delicate crooning, which turns out to be a winning formula. All of Morrissey’s obsessions are here—the radical vegan who tells America to take back its hamburgers, the unrepentant Oscar Wilde social critic ("I’m not sorry for what I’ve done") and the ruefully reticent matinee idol. When he wails, "The critics can’t break you/They unwittingly make you" while complaining about the cash-register that "weighs so heavily on my back," you can’t help but welcome back Mozzer’s blend of romance and cynicism. It’s been so empty without him. (Roy Trakin)

3. Muse at the Mayan Theater, L.A.: One of the best bands I have ever seen. Lead singer Matthew Bellamy is truly a rock star. He does everything so effortlessly, moving between lead guitar and keyboard, while wowing the crowd with every note perfectly in tune. I don’t think I heard him go out of pitch once the entire night. After seeing Radiohead for the first time, I would say these are two of the best rock bands in the world right now. Some people say Muse is the inspiration behind Radiohead; others think it is the other way around. The crowd was going absolutely nuts, with fans running on to the stage and diving back into the mosh pit. To cap things off, they came out for an encore and the Bellamy knocked over his Fender amp, climbed on top of it and started going into a heavy guitar riff with serious feedback. If that isn’t rock star, I don’t know what is!! A big thanks to WB’s Grover for hooking up tickets to this show. (Je-C)

4. Blues Poems (Everyman’s Library): Small enough to be tucked into a pocket or briefcase, this is an earthy grounder that takes the meter and the moments that make the blues such a contraction of real life… and offers it up on page after age of lyrics and poetry. Represented are musicians like Ma Rainey, Robert Johnson, Son House, Leadbelly, Muddy Waters and Ida Cox, writers Richard Wright, Langston Hughes and W.H. Auden and poets Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Margaret Walker, Allen Ginsberg and Joseph Brodsky. The blues are more than a song or a state of mind—it’s the way emptiness settles on you like an old coat that’s too tired to hold its own on your shoulders, and this volume captures that listless truth-telling that has nothing left to fight or hide. (Holly Gleason)

5. Matchstick Men: Nicolas Cage seems to be typecast in this film about a twitching, OCD-riddled neurotic, middle-class con man who lives in the Valley and discovers a 14-year-old daughter he never had. Nevertheless, director Ridley Scott, taking a break from his epic mode, manages to wrench a moving performance underneath all the facial tics. Alison Lohman as the preternaturally mature kid and Sam Rockwell as Cage’s loose cannon partner are both pitch-perfect in a cat-and-mouse story that turns suprisingly moral by the end. Though it at first appears this is more of the same for Cage, the role eventually deepens and reveals the aching humanity underneath. A sleeper whose quirky pace and subtle narrative work much better in the privacy of your living room than it probably did in theatres. (RT)

6. Edie Falco: As Carmela Soprano, she is literally the heart and soul of the show, her increasingly tense expression a sign that no good will come of all this, no matter how noble the intentions. This year, Falco has been fierce, trying to distance herself from her mobster husband, establish her independence, and now, slowly realizing there is no escape from her dilemma. It is an amazing performance, in no small part due to the fact she’s not afraid to make herself appear vulnerable, her fierce maternal instincts now facing an empty-nest syndrome with vengenace. Carmela is suffering for all our sins, and God bless Edie Falco for having the courage to explore the breakdown of middle-class morality in a world that accepts evil as a given. (RT)

7. Pieces of April: A tight little ensemble piece about a Thanksgiving family reunion that veers between sitcom broadness and indie film insight. Oscar-nominated Patricia Clarkson shines as the cancer-riddled matriarch not afraid to show the unsentimental side of dying, as does Katie Holmes in the role of the petulant black-sheep downtown punk longing for her mother’s love. The film’s strength lies in the minor grace notes of its supporting roles, from Oliver Platt’s stolid father to Derek Luke’s eager-to-please boyfriend. About a Boy and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? screenwriter Peter Hedges makes an impressive debut for a film that would seem to be the perfect Mother’s Day rental, its morbidity overcome by the rush of humanity. (RT)

8. Boyfriend Stealing: What’s a starlet to do when she falls in love with a man who is already taken? Make like Britney Spears and Claire Danes, and trollop around in the tabloids with the new boyfriend so the ex gets the picture that it is definitely ovah. Who cares if he has a pregnant girlfriend, especially if it’s Moesha’s Shar Jackson or Golden Globe winner Mary-Louise Parker? After all, they say all the good men are taken, right? Sloppy seconds must be good for something. Too bad this never works the other way around, with Hollywood hotties courting mommies-to-be. (Valerie Nome)

9. Off the Lip: This hot, funny surf flick opens this weekend. Marguerite Moreau (Runaway Jury, Wet Hot American Summer) plays Kat, a young female reporter who tries to find a mysterious surf legend in Hawaii, only to go missing herself. The story’s told in found-footage mode assembled by a guy (Adam Scott of Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator and Torque) who falls in love with her, piecing it together as a sort of Amber Alert to the surf world. Mackenzie Astin (The Last Days of Disco) stars as Kat’s annoying boyfriend. Go to www.offthelipmovie.com for screenings this weekend and more info on the flick. You can also check out a documentary of the launching of the film on www.Ifilm.com. You are allowed to hit me over the head with a surfboard if I include any more links in this plug. (Jill Kushner)

10. The Carradines: Between older brother David Carradine’s haunting Bill in Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 2 and younger Keith’s eerie turn as Wild Bill Hickock on HBO’s Deadwood, the thespian siblings have given two of their finest performances ever. Both are worthy tributes to their late dad John Carradine’s sepulchral scarecrow hopping over the fence in John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath. By expressing imminent doom in their well-worn, deeply lined visages, the Carradines face mortality without flinching, infusing their ghost-like characters with flesh-and-blood nobility and an underpinning of world-weary resignation that cuts through to the very bone of human existence. (RT)

Los Lobos at Avalon, Hollywood: It wasn’t quite Los Lobos’ kind of crowd, especially for a Cinco de Mayo—most of the band’s East L.A. fans wouldn’t gather at a trendy Hollywood nightspot, though the band’s Cesar Rosas recalled playing the venue when it was called the Palace. But that didn’t stop the legendary hometown group from celebrating their just-released Hollywood Records album, The Ride, which finds the band collaborating with some of the artists who most influenced them, and vice versa, like Bobby Womack, Elvis Costello, Mavis Staples and Tom Waits. On this night, album guest stars Café Tacuba ("Las Vengenza de los Pelados"), Thee MidnightersWillie G. ("Is This All There Is?") and, climactically, Brit guitar-slinger and one-time Fairport Convention member Richard Thompson ("Wreck of the Carlos Rey" and a song from he and ex-wife Linda's classic Shoot Out the Lights), joined them. David Hidalgo, in particular, seemed energized, his slashing blues guitar riffs continually upping the ante into the red zone. But it wasn’t until he pulled out the accordion and launched into the band’s Mexican folk songbook that the crowd truly came alive, waving their cervezas in the air and twirling like they just didn’t care. Los Lobos are not just another dance band from East L.A., though, after 30 years, they are that, too, never straying from the ability to glide from one genre to the another like the group that played weddings and block parties three decades ago. Standing for roots, family, community and the cultural melting pot that is blues, country, folk and norteno, Los Lobos are a great American rock band. Period. May they keep going another 30 years. (RT)

SHOW MY TIVO IS CONVINCED I LOVE THIS WEEK: Happy Harmony (in Chinese … at least the title is incredibly positive)
Dinner for Five
SEEN/HEARD THIS WEEK: "I made you something in school for Mother’s Day. Since you won’t be getting anything from anyone because you don’t have any children." my two-year-old niece to me.
FAVORITE PICK ON A MENU THIS WEEK: Spicy tuna rolls at Noshi
FAVORITE TRADER JOE’S PRODUCT THIS WEEK: Large bottles of water $.49 apiece
SONG I KEEP LISTENING TO THIS WEEK: The Darkness, "I Believe In A Thing Called Love"
COMMERCIAL I AUDITIONED FOR THAT’S AIRING (W/O ME) THIS WEEK: Special K Cereal Bars, which I actually booked and shot, but they’ve gone ahead with airing an animated dull spot instead of my letterbox way-funny spot shot by an Oscar-winning DP. I’m completely at peace with their decision.
CONCLUSION FOR THIS WEEK: I just read that some Oregon prisoners got flat-screen TVs. I don’t even have a flat-screen TV. And I live in LA. (JK)

This week: Santa Barbara
1. Wine Tasting: Leave the car behind and spend the day guzzling vino. Check out http://www.sbtrolley.com/ for one of the many wine-tasting tours available

2. State Street: There’s no secret to where the hot spot is in SB, just cruise up and down State Street for everything from shopping and dinning to people-watching.

3. Dining: Blue Agave: Cozy couches, crackling fireplaces, a cigar balcony and pool tables draw in the SB hipsters for great food and designer martinis. (20 E. Cota St.)

The Palace: Cajun-Creole-Italian. Renown for some of the best food in Santa Barbara (8 E. Cota Street)

Long Boards: Located on the wharf, over the water. This is a great spot to grab a bite and enjoy a margarita at sunset for a reasonable price. (210 Stearns Wharf)

Arigato: Sushi fans will appreciate the fresh seafood served in this Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. Order the chef’s Whatever Roll and you wont be disappointed. (1225 State St.)

4. Shopping: True Grit: For the hottest clothes with everything from their own killer line, Miss Sixty and Fornarina to Ben Sherman. This is the spot where the SB tastemakers are getting dressed.

Yellowstone: Nothing beats this vintage collection

Just Play Music: Just the way a hometown music store should be, including a large selection of vinyl, fully stocked collection of punk classics and music accessories. It’s a mini Amoeba.

5. 92.9 KJEE: Need a new radio station once KROQ fades away? Check out 92.9 KJEE, for great modern rock.

6. Nightlife: There’s plenty to do when the sun goes down. Hit up these State St. hot spots:

Dargan’s: Irish pub

Velvet Jones: Live music and bar www.velvet-jones.com

The Mercury Lounge (Goleta): Venture out of SB and up the 101N for about 10 min to find one of the coolest dive bars ever. Decorated with vintage tchotchkes and furniture. This retro spot has a killer back patio that leaves you feeling right at home. The snacks are always out on the bar and there’s plenty to do between the pool table, board games, and live music. (5871 Hollister Avenue)

7. Hit the beach: With spring in full roar, just do it! You can rent a sailboat in the marina, cruise the board walk and wharf or just lay out and work on your tan.

8. For more info: http://www.santabarbara.com/community/visitors_center/things_to_do/ (Stephanie)

Van Helsing (Universal)
Based on the character of the vampire hunter in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, who is summoned to a mysterious East European country to vanquish the evil forces of not only Dracula, but the Wolfman and Frankenstein’s monster also, while giving Universal a shot at reviving all three monster franchises.
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, Elena Anaya, Kevin J. O’Connor
Director: Stephen Sommers
(The Mummy, The Mummy Returns)
Thumbs Up: Special effects look dazzling, and so does Beckinsale, as always.
Thumbs Down: All monsters, all the time could make this the equivalent of the megaflop Wild, Wild West a few years back.
Soundtrack: Decca album includes original score composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri with an enhanced CD included.
Website: www.vanhelsing.net

New York Minute (WB)
A day in the life of Long Island twin girls who sneak off to New York City together, with one a straight arrow who plans to deliver a speech for an overseas scholarship, while the other, a punk rocker, looks to sneak into a music video recording session.
Stars: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Darrell Hammond, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Jack Osbourne, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Andy Richter, A Simple Plan
Director: Dennie Gordon
(What a Girl Wants, Joe Dirt)
Thumbs Up: Pretty impressive cast, with some talented farceurs, and the Olsens grown up.
Thumbs Down: Will anyone over the age of 20 care?
Soundtrack: Elektra soundtrack features Jason Mraz, A Simple Plan, Lucky Boys Confusion, Junior Senior, The Donnas, Blondie, MxPx, others
Website: www.newyorkminutemovie.warnerbros.com

www.craigslist.com "Post of the Week."

Babysitter needed

Reply to: [email protected]
Date: 2004-05-03, 12:30PM PDT
I need EXOTIC FEMALE DANCER, preferably a STRIPPER to babysit my very energetic 9-year-old. Must have whip because sometimes he gets out of line.
This will be next week because his birthday is coming up and we don't want to buy gifts for him; we were just going to skip town and leave him in the house alone, but we decided he needed watching. If you’re available, we can talk about it because I have little to no money. Thankz. (JK)

Thanks to Roy Trakin, Je-C, Joel Amsterdam, Bud Scoppa, Jill Kushner, Holly Gleason and Stephanie for helping This Weakend Planner achieve its biggest opening weekend gross ever.