Lorraine Ali

Stories by Lorraine Ali

  • Does The Kid Know How To Rock?

    The album in question: Kid Rock's latest CD is a self-titled ode to Southern rock. The 32-year-old, who popularized white-trash rap with his 1998 major-label debut, "Devil Without a Cause," leaves hip-hop behind and now sings about life on the road, whisky bars and ladies who've done him wrong. The songs are still played by his Twisted Brown Trucker Band and range from hillbilly stomps to hard-lovin'-man ballads. The CD, out this month, includes a guest appearance by Hank Williams Jr. and a cover of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love."LORRAINE ALI: Did your manager explain what we're doing?KID ROCK: An interview?Not exactly. I review the album, and you listen. Then you tell me if I'm right, wrong or totally clueless.Oh, I had no idea. I just got this sheet here that says, "Call NEWSWEEK between 10 and 12, Lorraine Ali." But I'm sure whenever this story comes out, my dad will bring it right over. He'll say, "That's big time, Bob, when you're in NEWSWEEK!"OK, well, here's your...
  • Fast Chat: All You'd Ever Want

    Tom Jones has a new CD, "Reloaded," an upcoming cameo on the Cartoon Network--and was featured in Scorsese's blues series. He talked to NEWSWEEK's Lorraine Ali about his newest moment in the spotlight."Reloaded" is a mix of greatest hits and new songs?I've done duets with young bands that were hits in Europe. The songs represent different eras, but the most important is "It's Not Unusual." That started it all in 1965. Without that hit, I'd still be looking for one.Why were you included in the blues series?My foundation, my style, is really the blues. But once I did "It's Not Unusual" and "What's New, Pussycat?" people knew me as a pop singer.Do you like today's pop?I can't say I'm a fan. They're all about keeping their dance moves up to snuff. Though some people might say Tom Jones is a Vegas act, I'm less Vegas than a lot of new acts. I just have my band. No dancing girls.Except for those in the audience, and they're often screaming.Yes, I must say it happens.You recently teamed up...
  • Gotta Jet

    At a recent New York music conference, where hundreds of bands played dozens of clubs, one of those standard-issue angry, tattooed singers screamed, then threw down his mike to signal the set was over. The audience knew it was their cue to clap and wait for the next rap-metal band to assault their senses. Instead, a cute, scraggly young Australian foursome called Jet took the stage, looking more like Bad Company than Limp Bizkit, and launched into a tune tailor-made for transistor radio, circa 1971. Starry-eyed girls headed for the front, and the cool kids planted themselves in the back, arms folded, toes secretly tapping.You may have heard Jet's single "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" in the new iPod commercial and figured it was by some brilliant '60s band that never got its due. Unabashedly derivative, Jet's debut CD, "Get Born," not only borrows from the Stones, Beatles, Kinks, T-Rex and AC/DC, but lifts licks from their equally sticky-fingered predecessors Oasis. They funnel the...
  • Snap Judgement: Music

    Try ThisPinkThe sneering bad girl of MTV and "Moulin Rouge" fame changes her musical style as often as her hair color (it's blond now, or is it black?). With a multi-platinum R&B and pop album under her low-slung belt, Pink stage-dives into punk with a little help from Rancid's Tim Armstrong. Thanks to boot-stomping tempos, hissing guitar and rough-and-tumble melodies, the music finally matches Pink's acerbic lyrics and overall bad attitude. The weakest moment here comes in the form of a gauzy, Zeppelinesque ballad. In Pink's case, it pays to be mean.So Much for the CityThe ThrillsThe first song is called "Santa Cruz," the second is "Big Sur," the third's about a lazy day on the beach and the fourth name-checks San Diego. So naturally, the five members of this blissfully retro, California-obsessed band are all from ... Dublin. It's unclear from their transporting debut CD if the Thrills have heard anything recorded since 1968. But listening to this sun-soaked love letter to the...
  • Bringing Up Britney

    Britney Spears rips open a bag of extra-cheesy Doritos, dips one into a bowl of tuna salad, crunches loudly then wipes off the excess orange dust on the thighs of her hip-hugging jeans. "Sorry, I'm just stuffin' my face here," she says in a perky Louisiana accent, then jams another chip into her mouth. It's one of the few breaks the performer gets today between rehearsing numbers for "Saturday Night Live," posing for a magazine photo shoot and taping an upcoming Britney special for ABC. She takes a swig off her Pepsi (not Diet), then looks at her cracked, unpainted, stubby toenails. "I do need a pedicure, don't I," she says. But who cares--when the scantily clad, hip-gyrating, crotch-grabbing Spears hits the stage, no one in America but Britney's choreographer will be concentrating on her feet.Sex appeal is to Britney Spears what special effects are to "The Matrix." Just last week Madame Tussaud's unveiled a wax figure of the star--it doesn't sing, but it straddles a pole and has...
  • The Artists: It's The Music, Stupid

    The music industry can sue every middle-schooler from Poughkeepsie to Palo Alto, but record labels will not cure their woes if they continue to churn out cut-rate albums at top-rate prices. For the past five years, they've been pedaling anti-art: boy bands, Britney and "The Thong Song." Judging by sales numbers, kids finally figured that a lot of artists were only as good as their Svengalis, or that an entire album by 98 Degrees was really just a single with filler. "Who expects a 12-year-old girl to buy a $20 record with her baby-sitting money for one good song?" says singer-songwriter Michelle Branch, 20, whose 2001 single "Everywhere" is still one of the top swaps. As a teen, she lifted some of her favorite singles off the Internet. "Why not download the one song you like?"Few top-grossing musicians want to criticize file sharing since Lars Ulrich of Metallica was verbally attacked by fans and peers for condemning piracy at a Senate hearing in 2000. In fact, many labels didn't...
  • Another Party Gets Started With Pink

    Pink examines her face in the rearview mirror and tries to wipe off a layer or two of the makeup from a recent photo shoot. "God, I look like a drag queen," she says in a sandpaper voice that makes her sound like a waffle-house waitress pulling night shift. "So maybe the rumors are true." The plush carpet of her top-of-the-line Range Rover--which she insists on calling her "truck"--is littered with empty Newport packs, the dashboard dusted with ash, the back crammed with boxes of unidentifiable junk. She's sitting here in the driveway of her house in suburban Los Angeles with the engine and air conditioner running, because she's finally agreed to share some of her upcoming album, and the stereo inside the house is "too crap to play anything on." She bangs on the steering wheel in time to "Trouble," the closest she's ever come to exposing her punk-rock roots, then begins swaying to a surprisingly gauzy ballad called "Waiting for Love." "This is my first love song," she says. "I've...
  • An Angel On His Shoulder

    Ibrahim Ferrer didn't become famous until he was in his 70s--even though he made his debut much earlier. "My mother was pregnant with me at a dance," he says, speaking in his old-school Cuban Spanish, "and when the music began, she started having contractions. I think I was even singing inside the belly of my mother." Ferrer, now 76, often speaks of an angel on his shoulder; when you hear his story, it's hard not to believe somebody has been watching out for him.In the 1940s and '50s, Ferrer sang on dozens of Cuban big-band records, but was never credited by name; eventually he ended up shining shoes on the streets of Havana. Then, when he was 70, the Cuban bandleader Juan de Marcos and the American guitarist and producer Ry Cooder tracked him down and recorded him with an all-star collective of forgotten Cuban musicians; the 1997 "Buena Vista Social Club" album gave Ferrer his first platinum record--and his first credit. Wim Wenders's "Buena Vista" documentary film made Ferrer's...
  • Muumuu No More

    There are plenty of things to fear when pregnant: excessive weight gain, natural childbirth and--worst of all--frumpy maternity clothes. Tentlike floral blouses, creased stirrup pants and Keds really are terrifying. But by mixing the hippest new maternity wear with select non-preggie pieces, it's possible to preserve your sense of style. For the first two trimesters, try super-low-rise jeans by Seven or Lucky Brand, but buy them a size bigger, so they ride well below your bump. When civilian jeans become too tight (and they will), japaneseweekend.com offers an extensive line of maternity pants--from flares to summer Capris--with discreet stretch waistlines that almost look normal. Or try Gap's maternity denim skirt. Pair them with Diesel's spring line of roomy, low-cut blouses or clingy, long tank tops. Or toss on a men's baggy hoodie from Brooklyn's hip-hop clothiers Triple 5 Soul. If you're willing to bare some belly, go with its tighter, cropped sweat jackets Triple5soul.com)....
  • Gooooooal!

    Jess is having one of those dreams that make her kick the covers off the bed. She's embroiled in a crucial soccer match, her teammate, U.K. football hero David Beckham, at her side. The stadium goes wild as she maneuvers past packs of grunting players. Then whack! She kicks the ball past a flummoxed goalie, and the 5-foot-3 Indian girl from suburban London scores the winning goal for Manchester United.Indians--let alone Indian girls--don't play on English soccer teams. It's a scenario found only in dreams, and in Britain's unlikely, irresistible indie hit "Bend It Like Beckham." The movie, which was directed by Gurinder Chadha, is the story of 18-year-old Jess (Parminder Nagra), a tomboy who wants to play soccer but is forbidden by her Sikh parents. Jess dodges finger-wagging, sari-clad mums and leering British boys. She befriends a blond London girl named Jules (Keira Knightley), who's bent on bolting to America because her homeland doesn't have a pro team for women. She acts a...
  • The Second Coming

    It didn't take a burgeoning local scene, or even a foreign invasion of pouty-lipped bands, to ignite 2001's garage-rock revolution. The raunch- and-reverb revival was largely spearheaded by an enigmatic duo from Detroit called the White Stripes and their breakthrough album "White Blood Cells." It also didn't seem to matter that the band's arty blues rock was overrated; a proliferation of fizzy pop and ham-fisted rap metal made the White Stripes sound like music's newest messiahs. They stood out, and that's all that mattered. Ooh, and they were "enigmatic"--a pasty, poker-faced duo who dressed only in red, white and black, did not appear in their debut video (they used LEGOs and animation instead) and left people guessing about whether they were husband and wife or brother and sister.Jack and Meg White dress like ghoulish parodies of Tammy Wynette and George Jones on the cover of their follow-up album, "Elephant." The CD was made in two weeks, recorded entirely with equipment that...
  • 'Love Makes Me Go Haywire'

    Lisa Marie Presley has been a de facto celebrity since she was born to Elvis and Priscilla 35 years ago. But the L.A.-based mom--she had a son and daughter with her first husband, musician Danny Keough--has avoided the spotlight, marriages to Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage notwithstanding. Now the reluctant pop heiress is set to release a debut CD of bluesy rock, "To Whom It May Concern." The album is hard-hitting in spots, middle-of-the-road in others, but her lyrics are honest and revealing, and Presley has an appealingly deep, smoky voice. In one of her first solo interviews ever, she talked candidly about life with Michael and living in the shadow of the true king of pop--her father.Your parents divorced when you were 4, and your father died when you were only 9.I feel like I've lived four lives in one. I dealt with death early on. It wasn't just my father, it was my grandma, my grandpa, my great-grandfather, my aunts--all in a two-year period. I didn't have much of a runway...
  • 'We Love This Country'

    When the doorbell rang around 6 p.m. last Monday at Basam Al- hussaini's home in San Dimas, Calif., the 39-year-old Iraqi-born engineer and his wife had been half-expecting the visit. "We'd heard from other Iraqis who were interrogated, so we knew they'd be here sooner or later," says Alhussaini, a U.S. citizen whose wife emigrated from Iraq in 1996. "They flashed their badges and said they weren't there to interrogate. They said, 'We just want to get to know you and make sure you are OK in case of hate crimes.' They later asked questions like 'Do you know anyone who has weapons of mass destruction?' I said, 'Yes, Saddam Hussein'."The Alhussainis are just two of the 15,000 Iraqis in America whom the FBI plans to interview as part of the Homeland Security Department's two-week-old Operation Liberty Shield. According to FBI Director Robert Mueller, 6,700 Iraqis--most of them recent immigrants who fled after the first gulf war--have already been interviewed. "We hope to get...
  • Music: Caught Between Rock And A Hard Place

    Rock and country have traditionally been as divided as doves and hawks in times of war. During the Vietnam era, the Who sang "Won't Get Fooled Again" while Merle Haggard celebrated his redneck American roots in "Okie From Muskogee." Not much has changed: platinum-selling rockers System of a Down's video "Boom" is a montage of antiwar protests, while country crooner Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?" calls for the support of U.S. troops in the Middle East. But what if you're a band that exists between the two worlds?The Dixie Chicks are a little bit VH-1 and CMT, but their country contingency is less than happy with the trio these days. Why? Because Chick Natalie Maines told a London audience on March 10, "We're embarrassed the president of the United States is from Texas." Country stations from Dallas to San Diego stopped playing their new album, "Home," fans called the band unpatriotic and a Louisiana station used a tractor to destroy a pile of Dixie discs (Operation Ignoramus?)...
  • 'She's Just Not Vegas'

    Frank. Sammy. Dino. Celine. Celine? Though Celine Dion's Las Vegas show, "A New Day... ," won't open until March 25, it's already touted as the biggest spectacle since the Rat Pack. Consider the Canadian crooner's custom-built, $95 million Colosseum theater at Caesars Palace, or her three-year, five-night-a-week contract that pays about $80,000 a show. And then there's the billboard: it even eclipses the one for Siegfried and Roy. "This lady is like an extraterrestrial," one big-name Vegas headliner told NEWSWEEK, "landing her spaceship here for a few years, sucking up all the oxygen and then flying away. You'll never see her showing up at other people's openers and that sort of thing. She's just not Vegas."While the tight-knit group of current hotel headliners work hard just to keep their names above the $9.99 surf-and-turf specials on the marquee, Dion is waltzing in as the top-selling female pop star in recording history. What's in it for her, besides the money? No grueling tours...
  • Strange Days In Indio

    We were surrounded by men in fezzes and women in harem garb, yet it was pretty safe to say that my dad--a Baghdad native--was the only real Arab at the 1973 Indio National Date Festival. The other men at this annual county fair were not swarthy sheiks but sunburned local date farmers celebrating the February harvest in this desert community just 130 miles outside Los Angeles. Ever since date trees were imported from Algeria around 1900, the sweet fruit had become a main source of revenue, and the locals developed a love affair with all that was Arab. They lived in cities called Mecca and Oasis, drove down streets named Arabia and attended schools with mascots such as the Coachella High Arabs. Indio was one of those places where American tradition happily intersected with the lore of the Middle East. At the fair, we'd whoop and holler at the camel races and marveled at the pyramid of dates in the Taj Mahal building--India? Arabia? who cared?--and ate corn dogs next to freckled kids...
  • 'G' Hits The Funny Spot

    It's unlikely that former attorney general Richard Thornburgh knew what he was getting into when he agreed to be interviewed about American law by a self-proclaimed British hip-hop journalist named Ali G. "Yo diggity," G begins. He's wearing a bright yellow FUBU tracksuit, a Tommy Hilfiger skullcap and enough bling--gold teeth, rings and chains--to finance a small nation. "I's here wit my main man Gov. Dick Thornburgh, former attorney general. Him is here to explain about the law. So, when is it legal to murder someone?" "Never," the stunned Thornburgh answers. "What if they call your mum a ho? Is it all right to murder them then?" Ali G persists. "You can't use as a defense any kind of verbal provocation," Thornburgh explains patiently. "What if they say your mum is a ho and I know 'cause I done it with her?" Ali G retorts. "Surely then you can pop a cap in their ass." Thornburgh pauses. "It's a terrible thing to say," he allows. "But you can't take another's life for slander." ...
  • Can Norah Beat Bruce?

    There are always going to be those who feel Bruce Springsteen can do no wrong. He is the Boss, the voice of the working man, the hero of middle-aged rockers who wish they too could get away with wearing tight jeans and belting out tunes about being born to run, even though by now, they perhaps have a bad knee or two. And when it comes to the Bruce's popularity with Grammy voters--basically music industry professionals who are older than Bruce--the ethos is no different. There are already predictions o' plenty that he'll sweep at this year's awards ceremony Sunday in New York, even though "The Rising" is by no means his best album to date.But frankly, I don't think I can stand another predictable sweep by a familiar old shoo-in. It's not that I disrespect Bruce, it's just that if he wins for best album and song, I'll despise the Grammys even more than I do now. It will conjure up the days when Steely Dan won for best album, and no, it wasn't 1974, it was 2000. It will remind me that...
  • The Svengali And The Starlet

    An eccentric, rich has-been tycoon. A buxom, blond B-movie actress. A call to the cops by the chauffeur. A shooting death in a hilltop mansion. It's a 1940s L.A. noir movie--about all it needs is the shadow of Venetian blinds--but it happened last week. The legendary producer Phil Spector and the struggling ex-starlet Lana Clarkson crossed paths at the House of Blues, on Sunset Strip, in the early hours of last Monday morning; shortly after 5 a.m. police found the six-foot-tall actress lying in a pool of blood in the foyer of Spector's 33-room mansion, the Pyrenees Castle. She'd reportedly been shot in the head. And they found Spector standing there. According to police, he struggled, was restrained and led away, disheveled and sweaty, in handcuffs; he was booked on suspicion of murder, and released on a $1 mil-lion bond. After a search of the mansion, Capt. Frank Merriman, head of the L.A. County sheriff's homicide unit, told NEWSWEEK, "We recovered a gun that we believe was the...
  • Hit Or Miss

    Ten-year-old Hallie Wilson used to be a Britney fan, but that was eons ago, when she was a kid of 8. Now, instead of dancing around her house in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Spears's syncopated beats, the fifth grader listens to pop punkster Avril Lavigne and makes fun of Britney. Recently, Hallie made a Frankenstein-like collage of her former idol from magazine clippings, pasting various girlie body parts together--legs in high heels, a torso in a push-up bra--and gave the singer an almond for a head. "Brittney Spears is such a nut head," she wrote next to her artwork. "Well, she is," explains Hallie. "She's so fake, like Barbie, and sings really stupid things like 'I'll be your slave.' Not even the fourth graders like her now."Hallie and her friends aren't the only ones discarding Britney like last year's Razor scooter. Pepsi recently dropped Spears as its spokesgal. The platinum-selling star's last album failed to move even a third as much as her debut CD. Her peers, who were also created...
  • Anarchy On Mtv? Tough Gals, Rejoice.

    Avril Lavigne is a good 15 minutes late, which is very unlike her, says her manager. Finally, thundering footsteps, hysterical screams and uncontrollable giggles echo in the corridor, the door of her hotel room swings open and the breathless 18-year-old singer barrels in. "I just got chased down the hall," she gasps, flinging down the camouflage lunchbox she uses for a purse. "Before, when they'd say, 'Oh my God, it's Avril Lavigne,' I'd be like, 'How do they know me?' Now it's just like, 'Don't think--run'."Lavigne's life has changed drastically in the three years since she was a Faith Hill sound-alike singing Christmas songs at the local mall in Napanee, Ont. Now the scrappy 5-foot-1 skater chick plays pop punk, sells 100,000 albums a week, has beaten out Pink as MTV's premier tomboy and is a good bet for best new artist at next year's Grammys. Her throaty voice and anti-Aguilera sound--somewhere between Alanis Morissette and Green Day--helped move 4.9 million copies of her summer...
  • Welcome To The Occupation

    In Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman's "Divine Intervention," a sexy Arab girl saunters through a military checkpoint like a supermodel down a catwalk, a sweating Santa is chased by knife-wielding kids and an apricot pit tossed carelessly out a car window blows an Israeli tank to smithereens. These bizarre, disturbing comic fantasies pepper the otherwise quietly oppressive life of E.S. (played by Suleiman himself), a Euro-suave Palestinian who lives an excruciating checkpoint away from his love in Ramallah, and way too close to his ailing father in Nazareth. This is one of the few feature films--let alone black comedies--to arise out of Arab Israel, and it goes where nightly news clips can't. It maneuvers through occupation and war (i.e., everyday life) with a cinematographer's eye, a satirist's wit and a secular Palestinian's skepticism, blurring the lines dividing pointed political drama, art-house abstraction and over-the-top sketch comedy."Divine Intervention's" impact extends...
  • Down With Dancehall

    Just as middle America was growing comfortable with hip-hop speak--"Wass up?"--along comes a new linguistic challenge: Jamaican dancehall. Today you can hear this Caribbean club music, a hard-edged and party-heavy offspring of reggae that used to be confined to the "world music" ghetto, alongside Nelly and Kelly on urban radio, MTV and BET. Most hip-hop fans under 25 can now recite the chorus of Sean Paul's "Gimme the Light"--though they may still be able to hum only along with the verses. ( "Them got the goody goody/One thing me haffi tell me/Dutty got the woody woody.") "Dere's a lot of speech we use dat Americans don't get right off," says Paul, "but hip-hop been usin' urban slang and people in Japan and Germany still listen to Wu-Tang Clan, even though dey cannot understand. It just took years to prove itself. Dat's what's happenin' wit' dancehall now."You don't have to look far to find its influence on the American Top 40. Recent singles by Missy Elliott, Janet Jackson and No...
  • Choosing Virginity

    A New Attitude: Fewer Teenagers Are Having Sex. As Parents And Politicians Debate The Merits Of Abstinence Programs, Here's What The Kids Have To Say.
  • She Still Believes

    If Whitney Houston hadn't confessed all to Diane Sawyer Wednesday night on ABC, surely television's biggest diva drama this week would have been Mariah Carey deconstructing her own 2001 "meltdown" for Matt Lauer on Tuesday on NBC.The 32-year-old singer downplayed rumors that she'd had a nervous breakdown by explaining that it was exhaustion--not depression, suicidal thoughts or insanity--that led her mom to call 911 in a panic that summer. Carey has talked in other interviews about further pressures, too: a flop film debut, a fizzled relationship with Latin singer Luis Miguel, the unfortunate release date (9-11-01) of her album "Glitter" and the ensuing nasty break up with her new label, EMI (after a previous nasty break up with Columbia, run by her old hubby, Tommy Mottola). But hey, she pulled through. The confident and calm Carey demystified all, letting the air out of each balloon of gossip.Of course, Houston was still the winner of the week's Tragedy and Tears prize. The singer...
  • Songs In The Key Of Tlc

    An army of 1,500 fans have blocked traffic in New York's already-jammed Times Square. The crowd, many of whom wear a painted black line under their left eye, don't seem to mind the incessant honking and dirty looks from cabdrivers. They are transfixed by the premiere of TLC's new video, "Girl Talk," playing on the outdoor JumboTron. On screen, Rozonda (Chilli) Thomas and Tionne (T-Boz) Watkins do what comes naturally to TLC--bust fluid dance moves in baggy pants and T's, sing lines like "thinking you got powers like Austin but you're more like Mini Me" and size up a parade of ultrahunky men as if they were questionable market produce. The crowd pops and sways to the beat, though it's clear to everyone there's one major element missing: TLC's tempestuous third member, Lisa (Left-Eye) Lopes. The 30-year-old singer, who wore a trademark swath of black under her left eye, died six months ago in a car crash in Honduras. TLC had recorded more than half the songs for their new album, "3D,"...
  • Aerobics For Anarchists

    It's 11 on Saturday inside the legendary New York punk club CBGB. That's a.m., not p.m. And there's no band in sight. The hulking man with the blue mohawk and tattoo isn't confused about the time of day--he's there for a workout. As in exercise. He takes one last gulp of his Bloody Mary, stubs out his cigarette on the bar floor and heads for an empty space in front of the stage. Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" blasts through the PA system. The unlikely participant pulls off his sweat shirt, raises his arms and dips into a deep stretch a la Jane Fonda. Punk Rock Aerobics has begun.For the next 90 minutes the tattooed giant, two instructors and 21 other seemingly hung-over students will do moves called the Skank, the Teenage Kix and the Air Guitar. They'll use bricks for weights and even form a mosh pit at the high end of the cardio pump, all to the music of Black Flag, the Stooges and the Sex Pistols. Never will a J. Lo dance tune or a perky instructor's command of "work...
  • Newsmakers

    One Nation, Under 'Jackass'Johnny Knoxville would like to make an apology. Naturally, the man is delighted that his masterwork, "Jackass: The Movie"--an 80-minute highlight reel of some of the most outrageous stunts, pranks and assaults on personal hygiene ever recorded--raked in a shocking $22 million in its opening weekend. He is, of course, proud to have the most popular movie in America. But... "Oh, my goodness, when I think of all those poor filmmakers who spent so much time and tens of millions of dollars on their movies--and our stinker was No. 1?" Knoxville shakes his head. "That is so wrong."Finally, something Knoxville and his howling detractors can agree upon. After all, "Jackass: The Movie" is only a movie in the loosest sense. There is no plot, just one grosser-than-gross gimmick after another. Knoxville is the star, but in name only. The best gags belong to his crew of longtime pals, most notably Chris Pontius, who loves dancing naked in public; Steve-O, who enjoys...
  • Cries From The Heart

    It's Nirvana's Moment Again With A 'New' Hit--And A Raw, Revealing Book Of The Late Kurt Cobain's Diaries. An Exclusive Excerpt.
  • Hip-Hop's Hope

    Hip-hop was once referred to as "the CNN of the streets."The idea was that rappers like Public Enemy, and later Tupac Shakur, told the story of disenfranchised urban kids-from the grim realities of ghetto life to the bass-heavy boom of house parties. They exposed a world that was often misrepresented by Hollywood and ignored by top 40 radio. In other words, they were bringing you the news no one else could deliver.Today the urban genre has more in common with the Home Shopping Network than CNN. Its stars, like Ashanti, offer nonstop displays of diamonds and designer clothes and rap incessantly about getting more of them. The brilliant lyricism of the day? The refrain of Nelly's recent hit says it all: "It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes." Welcome to hip-hop, 2002. Like so many revolutionary genres before it, rap had to forsake its credibility to finally dominate the charts.But just below the surface of all that billion-dollar ice, there is hope. "What we do is...
  • The Baghdad I Knew

    It was like a scene from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," except with Arabs. Dozens of my dark-eyed relations were gathered in my uncle Ibrahim's front yard to celebrate yet another Ali marriage. They skewer-cooked fish, argued politics and kicked a soccer ball around in the 125-degree Baghdad summer heat. It was 1976; I was 11 years old and had never been to Iraq; my dad had immigrated to Los Angeles before I was born. The kids treated my sister and me like novelty items--they couldn't stop fighting over us. My feisty cousin Afrah threw a Sadoon Jaber record onto the ancient player and the girls tried to teach us how to "dance like the Arab." We shook our skinny kid hips, never quite catching the beat. My sister then popped her own Elton John cassette into a clunky tape player we'd lugged all the way from L.A. and shimmied like Cher to "Crocodile Rock." They laughed so hard someone actually spit up a date. That's how I want to remember Baghdad.Last week President Bush's speech at the...
  • All About Eve

    The Souvenirs of Hollywood shop is packed with gawking tourists, but the owner knows they aren't there to buy the James Dean coffee cup or the Marilyn With Skirt in Air clock. Eve, rap's First Lady and Hollywood's up-and-coming star, is posing for a photo shoot just outside on Hollywood Boulevard, and his shop front provides the best view. "Please move," he pleads. "You're blocking the merchandise." But they're busy snapping photos of Eve (a.k.a. Eve Jihan Jeffers) in her blue blazer, white tank top and the tight miniskirt she keeps tugging down for modesty's sake. One old-time fan shouts from the crowd: "Hey, Eve! You lookin' like a supersta' now!"A year ago most of these people had no idea who Eve was. She had yet to play Vin Diesel's slick promoter in this summer's blockbuster "XXX," wasn't even close to landing a prominent role in Ice Cube's film "Barbershop" (which opens Sept. 13), and was only just gaining recognition for the crossover hit single "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" with No...