Month: April 2006

Angry at Jill

Though I generally agree with her, Jill Stewart got it completely wrong when she wrote her defense of Rob Reiner in last week’s Reporter (3/30/06, “Give Robe Reiner a break, already”). For Stewart, it is enough that Meathead and his cronies at the First Five Commission are “trying.” They care about children, and that’s all that should count. I’m not so forgiving. You see, Rob Reiner has had literally hundreds of millions of dollars to improve pre-schooler’s lives here in California, and most of that money has been spent on image over substance. Though he claimed he would use the 50-cents-a-pack cigarette tax to create more preschool slots, instead Reiner and his pals began re-inventing the early childhood education wheel. Even though First Five was pulling in over $400 million a year, it wasn’t enough. They needed more. Hence, First Five California became a campaign vehicle for other attempts to raise taxes. This is not First Five’s (or Reiner’s) first time using First Five revenues to promote other political campaigns, either. Before the imbroglio over $23 million spent promoting universal preschool while Reiner was campaigning for it, there have been at least two other attempts to put a preschool-for-all type ballot initiative before California voters, and both attempts were “coordinated” with First Five monies. This is why Reiner had to go and why Stewart got it all wrong. William...

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ARIES (March 21-April 19) If you live to be 90 years old, you will have spent a total of eight months sitting in your car stopped at red lights. In addition, you will have wasted ten months standing in lines at stores, banks, and government agencies, and you will have lost almost two years killing time while hoping that a certain phone call, letter, or email will arrive. That\’s the bad news, Aries. The good news is that few of those agonizing pauses will be racked up in the near future. This is one time when \”no waiting\” is the rule. You could make three months\’ progress in 15 days. TAURUS (April 20-May 20) I once knew a psychic who worked with people in comas. He contacted their spirits, which were wandering in limbo between this world and the next, and tried to convince them to either fully return to their bodies or else let their bodies die and formally exit to the other side. The task you now face is nowhere as dramatically life-and-death as that, Taurus, but it\’s comparable in a sense: Being neither here nor there is a futile state that you shouldn\’t continue to accept. Do what\’s necessary to make the knotty choice with as much grace as possible. GEMINI (May 21-June 20) Plato said God was a geometer who created an ordered universe imbued...

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G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE Garrett Dutton — better known to college students as G. Love — is truly a jack of all trades. But if you’ve ever heard the music he makes with his band, Special Sauce, that would be obvious. He sings (in a voice like a mash-up of Dave Matthews and Dr. John), raps (well, kinda), plays guitar and harmonica, and mixes together everything from rock and blues to R&B and hip-hop to funk and psychedelia. His hybrid style and rigorous touring has earned him a devoted following mainly amongst fans of Jack Johnson (who released 2004’s Hustle on his Brushfire Records imprint), Ben Harper and, yes, Dave Matthews Band. But the extent of his appeal is far wider than that. If you’re into music at all, you’ll find something to enjoy when G. Love & Special Sauce perform at the Ventura Theatre on April 6. BLUE OYSTER CULT It isn’t often that a band achieves immortality through a Saturday Night Live sketch, but Blue Oyster Cult did just that, with the help of Will Ferrell as a bearded, over-enthusiastic cowbell player bashing his way through the group’s 1976 hit “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” Long before being affectionately lampooned on NBC, Blue Oyster Cult carved out a niche for itself in the world of rock, playing melodic, heavy and intelligent proto-metal anthems. Maybe not surprising given...

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ELBOW One of 2005’s most egregiously overlooked gems was Elbow’s Leaders of the Free World. On their third album, the Manchester-based quintet indicted the giant figures referred to in the title as “just little boys throwing stones” and lambasted the apathetic public for turning a blind eye to their abuse of power until “they’re walking on the door of your home,” all over lushly ornamented, hard-edged, beautifully melodic Brit-pop. It was a tremendous protest record simply because it didn’t seem like one. But it mostly came and went while Coldplay hogged the spotlight. Well, at least America has a chance to make up for the mistakes Britain made last year. The album didn’t appear stateside until February, and while it hasn’t blown up to the levels set by X&Y, it’s quietly gaining steam, partly on the back of the group’s stirring, charged live shows. See for yourself when Elbow performs at the Avalon in Los Angeles on April 8. And pick up the new album while you’re at...

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