If you’re going to Gavin in San Francisco this weekend, be sure to leave time for shopping. In fact, skip the convention and just shop.


And, to Be Perfectly Honest, It Arrives
Not a Moment Too Soon!
One rarely acknowledged benefit of three-day weekends that end on Mondays is that the following weekend arrives before you know it. That means more breathing time for you, more work for us. So here we go again…

Best Buys by the Bay:
If you’re going to Gavin in San Francisco this weekend, be sure to leave time for shopping. In fact, skip the convention and just shop. If Oedipus or Rick Morrison is treating, your first stop is Wilkes Bashford, located at 375 Sutter St. This is the best men’s clothing store in the city. Start at the top floor and work your way down. A few doors down in Metier, one of my favorites (and the first place I fell in love with Cathy Waterman and Jeanine Payer jewelry). They’re located at 355 Sutter St. Nearby is the biggest Banana Republic in the country, perfect if you didn’t pack weather-appropriate (256 Grant Ave.). The Levi’s Store at 300 Post St. offers measured-to-fit jeans, plus a wide range of ass-crack revealing Superlow styles. Other SF favorites within walking distance of the hotel include Marc Jacobs (125 Maiden Lane), MAC Modern Appeal Clothing (Women’s: 153 Grant Ave; Men’s: 5 Claude Lane), Rolo (21 Stockton), Utopia Planitia (624 Bush St.), Gimme Shoes (50 Grant Ave. and 416 Hayes St.), and Anthropologie (880 Market St.). If you’re venturing to the Haight, don’t miss Behind the Post Office (1510 Haight St.), Joe Pye (351 Divisadero St.), Held Over (1543 Haight St.) and of course, Amoeba Music (1855 Haight St.). I expect a full report about every purchase!
—Ivana B. Adored

The Queen of the Damned (Warner Bros.): The supposed sequel to Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire is probably best-known as the last screen appearance of the late R&B singer Aaliyah as the ancient blood-sucking succubus Queen Akasha. Although the trailers look incredibly cheesy, some of the advance press insists it could be a guilty pleasure along the lines of Mad magazine’s “Scenes We’d Really Like To See.” Stuart Townsend replaces Tom Cruise as Vampire Lestat, while Brad Pitt’s Louis is done away with altogether, and Lena Olin is on hand as a benign matriarch. Director Michael Rymer segues from last year’s Perfume, co-written by L.M. Kit Carson, which starred Sonia Braga, Carmen Electra, Omar Epps, Coolio, Peter Gallagher, Jeff Goldblum, Paul Sorvino, Rita Wilson and Harry Hamlin, as well as his underrated ’95 flick of schizophrenic love, Angel Baby.  The Warner Bros. soundtrack is a goth-rock metalfest featuring Static-X’s single, “Cold,” as well as Marilyn Manson, Papa Roach, Deftones, Disturbed, Earshot, Godhead, Kidney Thieves, Dry Cell and Tricky. The website at www.queenofthedamned.warnerbros.com., includes story synopsis, trailer, photos, message boards, screensavers and a comprehensive look at the movie’s production.

Dragonfly (Universal Pictures): From the guy who brought you Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Nutty Professor, Liar Liar and Patch Adams, director Tom Shadyac’s vehicle for the desperately-seeking-a-hit Kevin Costner looks like a spooky, psychological ghost thriller meant to cash in on the box office hit Sixth Sense. Costner stars as a doctor grieving over the death of his late wife, who apparently contacts him through his patients’ near-death experiences. The creepy trailers incorporate swarms of the titular dragonflies, perhaps suggesting a future drive-in double-feature with The Mothman Prophecies. The movie co-stars unsettling character actors Kathy Bates and Joe Morton. The advance word on the picture has been practically nil, with the studio not making the film available to critics for advance screenings, never a promising sign. The Varese-Sarabande soundtrack features the brooding score by prolific and eclectic composer John Debney (The Princess Diaries, Snow Dogs, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Spy Kids, The Replacements). The website at www.dragonflymovie.com, is just as cryptic, offering the opportunity to get a Spiritual Reading in return for answering a series of questions as well as thoughts on the afterlife, with links to the beliefs of the major (and minor) religions. Pass the bug spray and go to the light.

Trembling Before G-d (New Yorker Films): Producer/director Sandi Simcha DuBowski’s documentary is built around the personal stories of Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who are gay or lesbian and are faced with reconciling their passionate love of Judaism with the drastic Biblical prohibitions that forbid homosexuality. The film features a range of individuals, from the world's first openly gay Orthodox rabbi to closeted married Hasidic gays and lesbians to those abandoned by religious families to Orthodox lesbian high-school sweethearts. The movie was shot over five years in Brooklyn, Jerusalem, L.A., London, Miami and San Francisco and is a co-production between the U.S., France and Israel. The subject matter sounds riveting, and it includes a score by noted downtown composer John Zorn. It’s been a festival favorite and is just now going into limited, art-house release. The website, www.tremblingbeforeg-d.com, fills you in on all the film’s subjects, along with scheduled screenings, press reaction, resources and ways to help boost the film’s media profile. —Roy Trakin

Chris Isaak, Always Got Tonight (Reprise):
While I’d never accuse him of phoning it in, Isaak’s Orbison-noir sound is so well-oiled, so much a part of him, that his music can come off as automatic if he doesn’t challenge himself. The smooth operator has no such problem here on his eighth album—indeed, Isaak hasn’t sounded this fiery since his self-titled second LP way back in ’86. The record works up a sweat on the title song and “Notice the Ring,” but it’s arching folk-rockers like first single “Let Me Down Easy,” “Somebody to Love” (which starts with the archetypal jingle-jangle riff of Beatle George’s “If I Needed Someone”) and the ultra-hooky “Cool Love” (with its swaying verses and soaring choruses) that shape its heart. Best of all may well be “Courthouse,” whose lyric insinuates a page-turning melodrama, while a piano prods at the spaces between the chiming guitar chords as if it were conducting a cross-examination. This is the sort of nuance that has largely been lacking in Isaak’s past studio work, but on Tonight, such touches are everywhere, and they make a big, if subtle, difference. Part of the credit must go to producer John Shanks (whose main claim to fame until now was, ulp, Melissa Etheridge), while ace mixers Chris Lord Alge and Jack Joseph Puig have deftly brought out the richness of the weave. But this is Isaak’s statement, and none of this stuff would register—or matter—if he han’t come up with an especially engaging batch of material and vocals as consistently compelling as any I can recall from him. Isaak may be a one-trick pony, but, as he demonstrates so winningly here, it’s still an awfully neat trick, and this album may be his biggest treat yet. Bud Scoppa

Joey Ramone, Don’t Worry About Me (Sanctuary):
Through his legendary Hall of Fame 25-year career with the Ramones—before his untimely death from cancer at the age of 49 last year—Joey was the mop-topped, gangly scarecrow heart worn on the sleeve of the band’s relentless three-chord beat. He was a true pop aficionado whose life was saved by a combination of Herman’s Hermits and the Stooges, and his first-ever solo album is a bittersweet nod to all his favorite musical epiphanies (Brill Building, surf music, the Who and garage band psychedelia). Whether warbling about “What A Wonderful World” this is or his valentine to CNBC financial reporter “Maria Bartiromo,” Joey transcends his punk roots to touch on the universal healing powers of the best rock & roll. And when he rails, “Sitting in a hospital bed/I want my life… It really sucks,” in “I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up),” even non-fans will mourn the loss of one of pop culture’s most dedicated followers, who bypassed trendy fashion to create a style that will survive him for posterity. —R.T.

Various artists, Club Bang! Rarities Volume 1 (CD pro):
You may have read about this superb anthology in HITS; assembled by the folks behind the red-hot weekly L.A. Britpop party known as Club Bang, it features 18 killer tracks, mostly by U.K. bands. The live-on-air Coldplay track earned a KROQ add, and there are also choice selections by Starsailor, the London Suede, New Order, the Charlatans UK, Sneaker Pimps, Gene and Placebo. But this comp is just as valuable for its inclusion of lesser-known acts like Grand Drive (the lovely “Wheels”), Elbow (“Red”), locals Run Run Run (“Beautiful Feeling”) and quite a few more. There’s one small catch—you can’t buy it in stores, as it’s promo only (scores of Bang attendees benefited from a recent giveaway). You’ll just have to e-mail [email protected] and ask very nicely. Simon Glickman

Subway 400 at Rockingham:
Holy Eye-talian sub sandwich—who woulda ever thunk that Ward Burton in the #22 Caterpillar Dodge would win the danged ol’ Daytonee Fahv Hunnert. That jest shows ya this here race-perdictin’ is tough bidness. Mah man Dale Jr. had the dang car to win that whole thang, but his tahrs let him down. Ah gotta figger the #8 Budweiser Chevy is gonna be real close to winnin’ this here one too. But if ah gotta perdict a winner, an’ ah guess that’s wut ah’m here fer, ah gotta put mah money on the #24 Dupont Chevy and Jeff Gordon. Dang—ah hate that purdy boy! There’s a coupla other guys to keep yer eye on this here week: Tony Stewart in the #20 Home Depot Pontiac—ain’t no way his danged ol’ engine lays down agin. And don’t fergit that wily ol’ Dale Jarrett in that #88 UPS Ford. By the way, ah like them race-the-brown-truck commercials. —Guy W.T. Goggles

State of Emergency:
Rockstar Games, the company behind Grand Theft Auto 3, 2001’s game of the year, raises the stakes again in taking a completely off-the-hook concept and turning into an amazing game. State of Emergency is, for all intents and purposes, a riot simulator. The story behind the gameplay is that an evil corporation has taken over the government and the people are rebelling. There are two gamemodes, Revolution and Kaos. Kaos is basically “run around killing soliders and destroy things” and Revoultion is a mission-based game that involves different plots to further bringing down the government, while killing soliders and destroying things. It ain’t a game for tha kidz, as LP would say. With hundreds of characters on the screen simultaneously and extreme, graphic violence, the sense of panic is palpable. But because it’s so over the top, the violence is almost comical. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely one of the greatest games of all time. It’s so good, I know somebody who left work early this week, saying he was “sick,” just to play it. Hell, yeah. David Simutis

It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time:
And you know what that means—hundreds of thousands of little girls in uniforms decorated in colorful patches, pins and badges, ringing doorbells and blocking the exits of your neighborhood grocery store. Ah, the scent of Thin Mints will soon be in the air. This year, my rowdy troop of li’l darlings, Troop 670, is selling cookies to raise money to go to camp. Unbeknownst to me before taking this gig, the days of parents pitching in are long gone, leaving me, the ever-diligent troop leader, to fend for funds. But it is so very important to teach these leaders of tomorrow how to burn marshmallows and talk about boys ‘round the campfire. So, I have accepted the challenge of selling cookies, and collecting monies, and picking up case after case, as my living room becomes a warehouse of shortbread, macadamia, peanut butter, and coconut/caramel confections (mmmm…just $3 a box). And, I have taught the girls to be quite the little salesmen. My most important selling tips? 1. Smile 2. Ask nicely 3. Upsell. They are all now ferocious selling machines. Folks will be lucky to escape buying just a few boxes, and I will be lucky to survive it all. —Kenya M. Yarbrough

Creed Conspiracy Theory:
This weekend, head to Madison Square Garden on Friday night. There are very few shows put on there that I'd recommend, but this week I'll make an exception for Crosby, Stills, Nash & YoungCreed never cease to amaze me. They sell thousands upon thousands of albums, Rolling Stone puts them on the cover, they play huge venues (like Continental Airlines Arena this Saturday), yet I don't know a single person who owns their album. That includes all my friends and relatives who live in the sticks of upstate New York... Sunday, my must-not-miss show of the week is Unwritten Law at Irving Plaza. I'm super-excited to hear the new songs live. And to mix things up a bit, the CD that you should go out and purchase right now, even if you have to pay import prices: Andrew W.K.'s I Get Wet. Trust me on this one. —Heidi-Anne Noel

Alien Ab-Duct-Tape:
At last. A website that breaks down, step-by-step, how to build a thought-screen helmet. Not only how to put it together, but what materials you’ll need and where to find them, as well as what tools are required. What’s a thought-screen helmet, you ask? Well, according to stopabductions.com, “The thought-screen helmet blocks telepathic communication between aliens and humans. Aliens cannot immobilize people wearing thought screens nor can they control their minds or communicate with them.” Fashioned after “thought screens” described in the science-fiction books of one Edward Elmer Smith, Ph.D. (in the “Gray Lensman” novels), the thought-screen helmet that we know today was invented by Michael Menkin in 1998.
     To fabricate your own, you will need a leather motorcycle or aviator’s helmet, some duct tape (“Have plenty on hand, you will use lots of tape to make this thought screen”) and some stuff by 3M called Velostat. Though the recipe is simple, the helmet, properly constructed, is apparently very effective: “Results of the thought-screen helmet [have] exceeded expectations. Since January 2000, aliens have not taken any abductees while they were wearing thought screen helmets using Velostat shielding.” However, the good folks at stopabductions.com caution against cheaping out on materials: “Other shielding material was tried in previous models with less success. Do not substitute the Velostat shielding with other materials. The Velostat made by 3M works!” (Do we smell a kickback?)
     Once you’ve made your helmet, wear it as much possible, “especially during times that you feel you are usually abducted.” Not convinced? Read the testimonials. Alien abductee Jon Locke reports, “Since trying Michael Menkin’s helmet, I have not been bothered by alien mind control. Now my thoughts are my own. I have achieved meaningful work and am contributing to society. My life is better than ever before.” Locke, of course, did most of his meaningful work toward the end of the 17th century, when he when he was hammering out his theory of social contract, which, along with the work of philosophical counterparts Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, paved the way for the modern democracy and the United States Constitution. Wait a minute—how can this guy still be alive? Oh yeah—aliens
     According to stopabductions.com, you can make a thought-screen helmet for about $35. We tried one, but unfortunately it didn’t help, since it turns out the voices are coming from inside our heads, not from outer space. —Jon O’Hara

Now With Bonus Music Recommendation:
Spring is so close, I can almost taste it, especially here in Los Angeles, the city where the smog never sleeps. This weekend daytime temps will be in the mid-70s and it’s only going down to the low 50s at night. There might be periods of clouds—but it ain’t spring yet, baby. And you wonder why so many people move here. Out there on the East Coast, temps will hit the 50-degree mark, but it will also get down to the low 30s at night. Winter ain’t over, yet. If you’re going to be in San Francisco for Gavin, it will be partly cloudy with highs right about 60 degrees and lows in the low 40s. And for God’s sake, if you like timeless nu-prog, check out V2’s Elbow. They’re the bee’s knees.
—David Simutis, Senior Meteorology Correspondent

What do you want from live? (6/11a)
Looks like she's got staying power. (6/11a)
We're reading the tea leaves. (6/11a)
The Black Music Month celebration continues with a classic from a legend, (6/10a)
Is there a lawyer in the house? (6/11a)
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?

 First Name

 Last Name


Captcha: (type the characters above)