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"HEY YA" the new single from ANDRE 3000 of OUTKAST, which is completely different from that other new single from OUTKAST: A+

"THE JOE SCHMO SHOW," SPIKE TV'S four-years-too-late jump into the reality television genre: A

THE SINGIN' CRACKHEADS ON THE 1 TRAIN, a rush hour jamboree of epic proportions: A

THIRTEEN, a movie about two 13-year-old girls, as reviewed by a 27-year-old man: A

"GUTS," a story that fans of CHUCK PALAHNIUK can only hear when the author performs a reading: A-

"THE WAY YOU MOVE," the new single from BIG BOI of OUTKAST, which is completely different from that other new single from OUTKAST: B

JOHN STAMOS'S COMEBACK, a slow-moving, gradually building thing you're only now beginning to notice: B

CARNIVALE, that new Sunday night show from HBO that's incredibly strange and somewhat mind-numbing: C

THE DMV OFFICE IN HARLEM, a hellish, awful place: D



"GUTS" BY CHUCK PALAHNIUK: Don't bother searching Amazon, cause you won't find this nauseatingly visceral short story there. Portland author Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) only read this story to those who came to see him on his latest book tour. While I will honor Chuck's plea that the plot be kept secret, I will say that it is compelling, gripping, and it almost made me vomit and pass out. The only thing that saved me was grabbing a blue comment card and scribbling on it in order to distract myself from the captive audience/Clockwork Orange-esque situation this sadistic scribe had orchestrated. But really, the story was fascinating -- not just for character development and story arc, but because as of this writing over twenty people have keeled over, unconscious, while listening to the story. Chuck gives himself too much credit by saying it's an example of the power of words; it's really just a well-written story delivered by a man who would love to convince you that a small colony of maggots is writhing at the bottom of your ice cream sundae. A- -- Adam Finley

CARNIVALE: Carnivale takes place during the Great Depression and opens with a carnival barker/dwarf named Sampson (get it?) explaining "each generation was born a creature of light and a creature of darkness." Okay. So who is who? Is the creature of light an Okie Dust Bowl jailbird named Ben Hawkins, who can reverse death and sickness and has these really dark, jump cut, sped up dreams? Or is it Brother Justin, a scary preacher mofo who makes old ladies barf up silver dollars? Why do they share dreams that would make Prodigy jealous? The questions don't stop there. Just wait until you meet the rest of the freak show, like the blind "seer" (we get it!) Clea Duvall, who can hear the voice of her catatonic, psychic mother in her head. Is she a love interest or a reason to show a feminist chick with no tits in a bra? And right when you're beginning to sort out all the carnies, Brother Justin's cronies, those flashbacks, the hoochie cootchie dancers, random Greatly Depressed people and the carnival's backer, an unseen godlike entity named "Management," that little dwarf entices Ben with an offer to stay on. "How'd you like a career in show business?" Bet HBO would give *you* one if you could come up with something better to fill Tony's concrete shoes or Carrie's Manolos. I need to sleep. Carnivale just weirds me out. C -- Tracy Weiss

JOHN STAMOS'S COMEBACK: Since the demise of "Full House" in 1995, John Stamos has been invisible. He had a brief turn in the short-lived TV drama "Thieves," but the former Uncle Hermes "Jesse" Katsopolis is best known as the provider of Rebecca Romijn's last name. But Stamos is back in the public eye, picking up paychecks for those 10-10-987 TV spots, which were pretty lame except for Stamos' admission that "I need to be cheap, because my wife makes all the money." Soon after, Uncle Jesse popped up in a couple of great, but little seen, cameos, turning up in a lavish, pool-party scene of the straight-to-video Mr. Show movie "Run Ronnie Run," and playing a sleazy talk show host in the Macauley Culkin "Party Monster" comeback vehicle. Both were


unexpected characters for a guy who had the mullet by which all other mullets should be judged. Now there's word of John John producing a show called "Virgin Chronicles" for MTV, where celebrities talk about their "first time." Hopefully, he gets Uncle Joey to talk about the whole Alanis "down on you in a theater" thing. Next up for a post-Full House comeback: Jodie Sweetin. B -- Joey Arak

THE SINGIN' CRACKHEADS ON THE 1 TRAIN: Times have changed. In the New York of the 1970s and 1980s, an addict on the subway would acquire your spare change with a bullet to the temple or a knife to the thorax. In the early 1990s, he might have resorted to a canned speech ("Attention ladies and gentlemen…") or sales of the Street News, but there was still a sense that you were a roll of the eyes away from getting jacked. But in the new New York, the post-Giuliani New York, three-part harmony is the new Glock 9. Witness the Singin' Crackheads. These three fellows roam up and down the 1 Train, singing "This Little Light of Mine," smiling, and making you happy to part with a buck. It's true that your contribution probably won't go toward a GED course or a present for mom. But who cares? They're happy, you're happy, and quite frankly, a romantic attachment to days when riding the train was like being plunged into the film "The Warriors" is… stupid. So Crackheads, keep singin'. A -- Mr. Greg

THIRTEEN: When you're 27 years old and male and you stroll into a weekday matinee alone, you feel uncomfortable. When the matinee is the story of a 13-year-old girl's self-destructive experimentation with sex and drugs, you feel downright creepy. But I persevered, and I'm glad I did, because "Thirteen" is a great movie. It really reminded me of what life was like as an insecure teenaged girl. Which is pretty impressive, because I was more of a gangly teenaged boy back in the day. But I do remember staring at girls. And I remember being scared of girls. And now I know why. Oh, and there is a scene near the end where Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood), the good girl gone pretty darn bad, is wrestling with her mother (Holly Hunter) on the floor of the kitchen. I will say no more, but before I do, I will say that that scene is brilliant. A -- Jason Brough

"HEY YA" BY ANDRE 3000 OF OUTKAST: Where the hell has this single been all summer? Just as the weather cools, Andre from Outkast has returned with a single that's the hottest, most inventive piece of hip-hop seen in, well, since his last record dropped. (Partner Big Boi has also released a single, reviewed below.) You wouldn't know it from the huge beat, 1950's style backing vocals, or Andre's relentless "James Brown on Mars" delivery, but "Hey Ya" tackles a delicate subject, sadly lamenting a relationship that's not working anymore. Once again, Andre mingles the serious and the seriously funky, creating a pop rumination on the difficulties of fidelity, completely alien turf in rap's world of booties, bitches and bling. When Andre croons, "If what they say is "Nothing is forever" / Then what makes love the exception?" it's not just another lyric, it's something you've wondered yourself. Is it possible to dance and contemplate forever with someone? A+ -- Eric Gillin

"THE WAY YOU MOVE" BY BIG BOI OF OUTKAST: Thirty years ago, R&B's sound was thick, packed with bridges, instruments, singers and percussion -- all performed live. Eager to employ as many musicians as possible, acts like Earth Wind and Fire thought nothing about putting six or seven dozen people onto one stage to kick out the funky jams. This single from Outkast, fronted by Big Boi, harkens back to the days when R&B acts used a couple charter buses to get everyone to the show. As is his style, Big Boi sing songs his way through the rap, gliding over one of those basslines the South is best known for, but it's the smooth, soulful chorus that steals the show, complete with brass section and 42 people singing backup vocals. While this song lacks the exuberant energy that Andre 3000 brings to his tracks, "The Way You Move's" mellow sexuality grows infectious with every listen. B -- E

JOHN RITTER'S AORTA: Aortas suck. The absolute gall of this piece of heart busting open on Mr. Ritter is unconscionable. That guy always made me laugh. I could watch that scene in "Skin Deep" when the tidal wave comes through the door and whacks him against the wall 100 times in a row and it would never get old. Anyway, it's a damn shame, especially since he was experiencing a well-deserved bonus round of TV fame from 8 Simple Rules. Somewhere, Mr. Furley is crying. Adieu, Jack Tripper. F -- A.J. Daulerio

SPIKE TV'S "THE JOE SCHMO SHOW": As the tagline says, "Joe doesn't know" that the reality show he's on is an immense practical joke with one pathetic victim: Joe himself. For once there's truth in advertising. All of America should be watching this show, despite the fact its satiric premise is as hulking, broad and dumb the demographic Spike TV caters to. Where most reality shows are a joke on the viewer, mocking us when we buy the "real" people and the salty snack foods they plug -- on the "Joe Schmo Show" the joke's on Matt. Thrill as scheming actors offer up method aphorisms and paeans to their own genius while the hapless Matt, this wide-eyed man-child, takes his first steps in the TV world. It's an actual glimpse at our reality, this vapid culture. Somewhere deep inside the jade of our irony a lost, sad heart beats. There, we are all Joe. A -- Jason Tarantino

THE DMV: Many miss the true genius and logistical wizardry that is the Department of Motor Vehicles. In the case of the Harlem DMV you first enter the "information" line, being handled by only one staffer. After 15 minutes in line the lone gatekeeper hands you a form to fill out and tells you to get in the photo line. As the majority of people are there for the sole purpose of obtaining photo IDs the state has splurged on not one but two cameras to expedite the process. Take the hour and 15 minute wait in this second line to enjoy the nervous ticks, smells, complaints and cell phone conversations of your fellow man, all while being serenaded by a heavenly chorus of screaming babies. After your photo it's on to a bench-filled room where you can unwind before forking over $40. While there were only two people taking pictures there are at least 15 people working to take your money, making the wait only about 20 minutes. After only two fleeting hours you are set free. Harlem DMV: D -- Ross Tucker