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  • Nov 29 - Dec 5, 2006
  • Vol. 27, No. 7

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Shut Up & Sing

    Since that one glorious fateful Bush crack back in ’03, these bumpkins with ’tude have been embroiled in a controversy that’s shaken the Nashville faithful and rankled Washington. It all starts with the Dixie Chicks — the best selling women’s band ever — on a London stop of their world tour. Onstage, Natalie Maines blurts out a comment between songs and is met with cheers from the Brits: “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.” The incident escalates from no big deal to minor crisis and finally to all-out war, as rabid right-wing country music fans turn their frothy-mouthed hysteria back on Maines and company, and faster than Jeff Gordon can complete a lap. But it’s not what Maines said, or even how the group responded to the outcry, that makes for the most compelling drama in Shut Up & Sing. The vitriol is shocking, not just the usual wrath of CD burnings and radio-play bans, but in the degree of hatred toward the women. How quickly the Chicks’ audience turned against is mind-blowing.
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  • The Scene
  • Gush gush

    Faith in the power of love and an artist’s right to dream; plus the director’s virginally hot girlfriend
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  • The Scene
  • Bobby

    Set during the 24-hour period before RFK’s assassination, 23 characters of all stripes struggle with life and love under the roof of the renowned Ambassador Hotel amid the political and social upheaval of the 1960s. There’s the politically progressive but personally flawed hotel manager (William H. Macy) who’s cheating on his hairdresser wife (a barely recognizable Sharon Stone) with a sexy switchboard operator (Heather Graham). Meanwhile the hotel’s racist kitchen manager (Christian Slater) refuses to let anyone off to vote and forces the wait staff to work a double shift. This leads baseball-loving busboy (Freddy Rodriguez) to sacrifice his Dodger tickets to chef Laurence Fishburne on the very night Don Drysdale broke the world record for pitching 58 scoreless innings. The hotel guests include a troubled husband and wife (Martin Sheen and Helen Hunt), two lonely old codgers (Harry Belafonte and Anthony Hopkins), whiskey-soaked Virginia Fallon (Demi Moore) and her put-upon husband (Estevez), a pair of acid-dropping Democratic volunteers (Shia LaBeouf and Brian Geraghty), and a teen (Lindsay Lohan) determined to marry her classmate (Elijah Wood) to save him from Vietnam’s front lines. Oh, and there’s also members of Kennedy’s campaign staff. Unlike Crash, there’s no unifying theme to tie the vignettes together other than the inevitable march toward Kennedy’s assassination. Few of the players connect as human beings; all are forced to spout awkward chunks of exposition. Which isn’t to say that Bobby is a complete failure. There are working moments, but they’re fleeting.
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  • The Scene
  • Fur: An imaginary an Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

    That the biographical details of Arbus’ life aren’t exactly public knowledge doesn’t excuse the liberties taken with the facts. It is doubtful that Arbus (played here by Nicole Kidman) was inspired by a fur-covered neighbor(Robert Downey Jr.) to develop her creative sensibility. But even though the attempts at dreamland mystery often come off as sleepy rambling, there’s no denying that the picture is flat-out gorgeous, with rich visuals and terrific production design.
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  • The Scene
  • Happy Feet

    Happy Feet’s astonishing visuals are a spectacular blend of real-world photography and computer-generated animation. Where Happy Feet falters is in its awkward storytelling. Mumbles (Wood) is a happy-go-lucky Emperor Penguin with a strange handicap; unable to perform his “heartsong” — something all penguins must do to attract a mate — he expresses himself through dance. In fact, his fancy footwork could give Fred Astaire a run for his money. Still, his mother (Nicole Kidman) worries he’ll be unable to find a wife, and his father (Hugh Jackman) struggles to hide his shame. Shunned by the other penguins, his flock’s leaders blame his un-penguin-like ways for their dwindling fish supply. Determined to prove that the shortage is not divine retribution, he goes on an expedition to discover the true reason their food supply has become endangered.
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Food & Drink

  • Feel the heat
  • Table and Bar
  • Feel the heat

    Are you a man or a mouse? At a Thai restaurant, your fellow diners will sit in judgment. The level of heat you ask for is not just a personal preference but an index of your toughness, nay, of your authenticity. Pi’s heat levels should be approached with caution. The prices are friendly, with $1.69 spring rolls that are superior. The pad kee mao (“spicy noodle”) has wide, slippery noodles heaped with generous amounts of smoky chicken and crisp vegetables. The gang gai (red curry chicken) has fiery red chili paste that's only slightly alleviated by the sweet blandness of the coconut milk. Limited seating. No credit cards, no booze. Call ahead 15 or 20 minutes to place your order. Open 11 a.m.-8:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon-8:45 p.m. Saturday.
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