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Review: Album

Blur
""Blur: The Best Of""
EMI Records

A

After six albums and more than a handful of hit songs, Blur has finally released ""Blur: The Best Of."" The album provides 18 tracks of Blur and their growth from their 1991 release, ""Leisure,"" through their most recent release in 1999, ""13.""

For those of you whose knowledge of Blur doesn't go beyond the techno-casino sounds of ""Girls & Boys"" and the familiar ""Whoo-Hooo!"" of ""Song 2,"" then this album will open your eyes to the music that is distinctively Brit-pop.

Blur was first known as Seymour and started out playing their style of art-punk in various places around London in the late '80s. In 1989 they changed their name to Blur, signed to Food Records and released ""Leisure,"" which included hits like ""She's So High"" and ""There's No Other Way.""

""Modern Life is Rubbish"" was released in 1993 and it pioneered the Brit-pop sound of the early- to mid-1990s. The lush My Bloody Valentine-esque guitar work with Beatles-esque harmonies and the use of string and brass sections achieved a witty collection of songs.

Their first No. 1 album, ""Parklife,"" continued Blur's collection of hit songs including ""Girls & Boys"" and gave them four Brit Awards.

With the release of their next album, ""The Great Escape,"" Blur became part of a media-created rivalry with Oasis. ""The Great Escape"" reached No. 1 in the British charts and sold 1 million copies in Britain.

Their self-titled album, ""Blur"" was released early in 1997 and they were instantly known stateside with their two-minute hit simply titled, ""Song 2.""

""Song 2"" also found its way into commercials, movies and other promos. Largely ignored were songs like ""M.O.R."" and ""Beetlebum.""

Their most recent studio album, ""13,"" was lyrically direct and emotional with beautiful musical textures. Blur songwriter Damon Albarn wrote about his painful break-up with Elastica's Justine Frischmann and used the brilliance of William Orbit to produce the album.

Their ""best of"" album collects all of the songs that define Blur and their career. Classics such as ""Parklife"" and ""Charmless Man"" are included with the light melodies of ""Country House"" and ""To the End."" The bonus disc includes 10 songs from their concert at Wembley Arena.

""Blur: The Best Of"" is a fantastic way to open your eyes to more than just the American radio hits and it's a great way to start the foundation of your Blur collection.

Under the Scope

The first year of the new millennium brings many new films that will try to offset the horrible selection of movies that plagued 2000. Winter may prove chilly, but Hollywood intends to brighten and warm this season with films that range greatly in style and genre. Unfortunately, this winter may seem cold because many of the new films coming out continue the downward trend that began last year. Here is a look at some films coming to theaters this winter.

Snatch

Snatch

Jan. 19

The Mexican

Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Jason Flemying, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Rade Sherbedgia and Jason Statham.

Turkish (Statham) is a boxing promoter who gets in trouble when he works with gangster Black Top to rig a boxing match. At the same time, a diamond theft occurs, but the diamond disappears; as a result, the mastermind of the heist, Avi (Farina), goes to England to get the lowdown. The two stories intertwine with each other, creating havoc in the process.

Outlook: This film looks to be a winner with a fresh, fast-paced plot that is sure to bring out a bit of everything. Although it may be over the top, the chaotic yet stylish storyline should make this film fun and exciting to watch.

The Wedding Planner

Jan. 26

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Justin Chambers and Judy Greer.

When wedding planner Mary Fiore (Lopez) meets Steve Edison (McConaughey), she thinks she has found the man of her dreams. This is great until she finds out that Steve is engaged to Fran Donelly (Wilson-Sampras), who has hired Mary to plan her wedding. Mary now has to manage the fine line between her job and her love life.

Outlook: A chick-flick that is sure to be a crowd pleaser this year. Chemistry between Lopez and McConaughey is good, but the predictable and simple plot makes this one seem like an ordinary romantic film.

Sugar & Spice

Jan. 26

Starring: Marley Shelton, Jame Marsden, Rachel Blanchard, Mena Suvari, Sean Young, Sarak Marsh and Melissa George.

Diane (Shelton) is the captain of the school cheerleading squad and dates the quarterback Jack Barlett (Marsden). Everything is fine until Jack and Diane find themselves in an unexpected situation and need cash immediately. In order to help the couple, the rest of the cheerleading squad, the A-squad, plot a bank robbery. The girls put their futures on the line in order to help out their friend in this comedy.

Outlook: Can you give me a ""D-U-M-B?"" The idea of a bunch of peppy cheerleaders turning to a life of crime is not exactly A-material. The only thing these cheerleaders can motivate you to do is to not see this poor excuse for a movie.

Head Over Heels

Feb. 9

Starring: Monica Potter, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah O'Hare, Shalom Harlow, China Chow, Ivana Milicevic and Tomiko Fraser.

Amanda Pierce (Potter) is a single art restorer who resides in Manhattan in this comedy. When she lands a great deal on a new, luxurious apartment, she is both surprised and uncertain when her new roommates are four beautiful, gorgeous models. The models quickly change Amanda's lifestyle and Amanda is attracted to Jim Winston (Prinze). Things are turning out fine until she witnesses what appears to be Winston committing a murder. Pierce and her new roommates are now on the trail to find out the truth.

Outlook: ""Head Over Heels"" is another teen-pop flick that proves that all you need to make a movie is a pretty face. This movie lacks the credibility and plot to be much more than another chance to see an attractive actress or actor. Not only is the plot ridiculous, but it also has the intelligence of the movie's character, which is none.

Hannibal

Feb. 9

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta, Frankie R. Faison, Giancarlo Giannini, Francesca Neri and Zeljko Ivanek.

The sequel of ""The Silence of the Lambs"" has the escaped Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins) being the hunted instead of the hunter when an old victim of Lecter, Mason Verger, tries to seek revenge and attempts to kill Lecter. In order to do this, Verger uses FBI Agent Clarice Starling (Moore) as a tool to capture Lecter.

Outlook: The original movie proved such a success that Thomas Harris wrote another chilling book in order for a movie to be made. Although money was the catalyst, this film will prove to be one of the more thrilling and haunting films of the year. With director Ridley Scott and Anthony Hopkins back as the lead, this film will bring a realistic, spine-chilling thriller that is macabre and gruesome.

Sweet November

Feb. 16

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron, Jason Isaacs, Greg Germann, Frank Langella and Liam Aiken.

Keanu Reeves plays a busy executive too concerned with himself to care for the well-being of others. His way of life changes when he meets an awkward but free-spirited woman (Theron) who persuades him to spend a month with her in order to change not only his views, but also his way of life. However, neither of them expected to fall for each other.

Outlook: This weak premise portrays itself as a warm, sentimental romance. A love story demands chemistry between the two leads, but Reeves and Theron are not known for their great acting. The odds of seeing not only good acting but also great chemistry from the two actors are the same as having a legitimate and fair election in Florida.

The Mexican

March 2

Starring: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and James Gandolfini.

Jerry Welbach (Pitt) is in a tight situation because he has to not only recover an antique pistol for his mob boss, but also has to deal with the fact that his girlfriend Samantha (Roberts) wants him to end his association with the mob. Trouble ensues when Jerry recovers the pistol, which turns out to be cursed, and by the fact that Samantha is now held hostage by a hit man.

Outlook: Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, with their immense starpower, will ensure that this film will be seen by many and will be a success at the box office. This predictable film looks to be decently funny with a good blend of not only comedy, but also romance, drama and action.

Animal Husbandry

March 30

Starring: Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman, Marisa Tomei and Ellen Barkin.

In this romantic comedy, Ashley Judd plays talk show producer Jane Goodale who is in a romantic relationship with Ray (Kinnear). When their relationship turns south, Jane uses her knowledge of the male animal to write a sex column. In the process, Jane and her column become a sensation.

Outlook: This look into men-women relationships falls flat as the script seems shallow and it clarifies the obvious. As a result, a meaningful understanding is never developed. Judd has been in many bad movies lately and this seems to be just another one of them.

Celebrating the Holidays South of the Border

With the holiday season approaching, it is important to realize that not all cultures ring in the new year by decorating a dead tree and leaving milk and cookies for an overweight burglar in a red jumpsuit. In fact, our neighbors just south of the border have a very different way of celebrating Christmas and the new year.

While Christmas in the United States is generally celebrated on Dec. 25, the Mexican holiday celebration stretches from Dec. 16 to Jan. 6. It is not uncommon for many Mexicans to take the two weeks before Christmas off of work or school in order to spend more time with family and friends and to celebrate the holiday, according to http://www.mexonline.com.

The Posadas are one of the best-known holiday traditions in Mexico. There is one held each night for the nine nights prior to Christmas Eve. While the literal translation of ""posada"" is ""home,"" ""shelter"" or ""inn,"" the Posadas are dramatized re-enactments of Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary's search for a place to stay and give birth to the baby Jesus.

In older celebrations of the Posadas, a young boy and girl were chosen to represent the two biblical figures. In modern celebrations, groups of people walk around with candles. They visit three houses and ask for a place to stay by singing a traditional question-and-response song. The first two houses deny them access, while the third house welcomes the group inside for festivities.

When the group is finally welcomed into the third house, it gathers around a manger scene and offers songs of welcome called Ave Marias.

While the more religious celebrators of the Posadas may pray when the third house lets them in, the event has evolved into a party. The festivities usually include refreshments and dancing. The adults are served a thick punch that usually contains a little alcohol to keep out the cold.

Often, the party also includes a pinata, which is very popular among children. The pinata is filled with candy and toys, and is usually hung from a tree.

The celebration is said to have originated in 1587, according to the Internet system of the presidency of Mexico, located online at http://world.presidencia.gob.mx. According to the Web site, it was then that Friar Diego de Soria obtained a Papal Bull from Pope Sixtus V to celebrate ""Aguinaldo,"" the Christmas gift Masses that ran from Dec. 16 through Dec. 24 in what was New Spain.

The Masses, which were held in the church atriums and designed to convert patrons before Christmas, were filled with scenes that alluded to Christmas. The Augustinian missionaries used fireworks, sparklers, Christmas carols and pinatas to attract crowds. These festive celebrations evolved into the modern celebration.

The ritual is continued until Christmas Eve, when another verse is added to the Ave Marias that tells the Virgin Mary that the night has come to give birth to baby Jesus. The children are dressed as shepherds and stand beside the nativity scene while members of the company kneel and sing. The ritual is concluded by rocking the baby Jesus to sleep with the cradle song ""El Rorro,"" which means ""Babe in Arms.""

After the last of the Posadas, worshippers go to church to attend the ""Misa de Gallo"" or the ""Mass of the Rooster."" This is the first Mass of Christmas Day and is traditionally celebrated with fireworks, ringing bells and blowing whistles to announce the birth of Jesus.

The Mass is followed by a large dinner of traditional Mexican foods, including tamales, rice, rellenos, atole (a sweet traditional drink) and medudo, which is said to be more sobering than a strong cup of coffee.

Celebration of the holiday on Christmas Day itself also differs from the American celebration. While Americans traditionally celebrate the day with a Christmas tree and presents, Mexicans usually do not do anything special on Dec. 25. However, recent trends have Mexicans integrating the American celebration of Christmas trees and Santa Claus into their traditional celebrations.

In Mexican tradition, presents are not distributed until Jan. 6, the Dia de Reyes, which means the ""Day of the Kings."" This day, also called the Epiphany, is supposed to coincide with the twelfth night of Christmas. This is the day on which it is believed the three wise men brought gifts to Jesus.

'Horns Wings and More Tales'

""Performance art ... that usually involves getting naked and smearing stuff on your body, right?"" a student queried earlier this week, looking at the postcard ad for ""Horns Wings and More Tales."" The ad featured a black and white photo of a dancer superimposed on an attention-getting red background. True to the title, the dancers appear at various moments in the program with wings, horns and even (yes) their tails bare as they artfully spin a tale of the female experience in our culture.

Courtesy of Lower Left

The Lower Left dance company has reprised the popular ""Horns Wings and Tales,"" a powerful mish-mash of dance and performance art first performed in 1998. ""Horns Wings and More Tales"" opens tonight with ""Moving Violations"" for a seven-night, two-weekend run at Sushi Visual and Performance Art Space downtown.

The show presents a series of subtly related vignettes featuring such characters as Hairy Woman, Monster Girl and Nordstrom Woman. Through monologues and movement, the five performers bring to light the ways in which American women chafe under, cope with, and (somewhat) escape from the inherent patriarchy of our culture. The women of Lower Left are not afraid to be both poetic and aggressive, and they present a stunning piece of work.

Between mud, water, spelunking equipment, flying harnesses, crazy-but-logical monologues, glue-on body hair, and of course dance, this show covers vulgarity, beauty, anger, repressed pain and hope. Something for everyone? Not for those who seek to avoid challenges to the status quo. Viewers of previous performances have been heard uttering phrases such as ""life-changing"" and ""phenomenal.""

Opening the evening is a dance crazy with movement called ""Moving Violations."" First choreographed by Nina Martin of Lower Left in the mid-eighties, it was revived for this year's Trolley Dances and expanded for this performance. In addition to learning Martin's choreography, the dancers worked together under her direction to create the fastest, most hair-raising quintets they could, crammed to capacity with lifts, jumps, flailing limbs and half-controlled falls.

Numerous UCSD dancers and alumni are performing in the show. Alumna and UCSD Recreation gymnastics instructor Margaret Paek will be seen in both pieces. Also, over a third of the huge cast of ""Moving Violations"" comes from UCSD. Look for undergraduate Lindsay Sworski, graduate student Jean Steiner and alumni Todd Bennett, Jean Dugan, Hannah Griffith and Andrew Wass. Such a strong UCSD presence in the post-modern dance community is noteworthy, especially considering that the dance department here tends more toward the modern dance vein.

With seven performances in two weekends, UCSD students have no excuses for not going to ""Horns Wings and More Tales."" This may be a crazy time, between finals and getting home for vacation, but so what -- you'd regret missing this amazing performance.

Sushi is located on 11th Avenue, between J and K streets. Tickets for ""Horns Wings and More Tales"" are $15, $12 for students and $10 for Sushi members. Call (619) 235-8466 for information or reservations.

Arena

Interviews by Malavika Gangolly * Photography by Tyler Huff

Holiday Movie Preview

With over 30 scheduled films this holiday season, Hollywood is trying to make up for what was a poor summer in terms of film quality. This year's films range from towering mountains to desolate islands, from slapstick comedy to serious dramas. While some have the potential to be great films, others are probably going to be clear misses. Besides the usual blockbusters, December will be filled with Hollywood and independent films alike contending for Oscars. Here is a look at some of the more anticipated films in store for this season:

Vertical Limit

Dec. 8

Starring: Chris O'Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Izabella Scorupco, Temuera Morrison and Stuart Wilson.

A climber, Peter Garrett (O'Donnell), must make a treacherous climb up K2, the world's second highest peak, in order to save his sister, who is stranded on the mountain. Garrett must confront his personal problems and his surroundings before it is too late.

Outlook: Unfortunately, this film has all the looks and feelings of ""Cliffhanger."" The plot seems that of a typical action/disaster film, one that does not try too hard to get the brain working and that is uninspired. O'Donnell's only experience in major action films so far consists of the ""Batman"" series, so he is probably not a good fit for the role of an extreme mountain climber.

The Emperor's New Groove

Dec. 15

Starring: David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton.

This animated film takes place in a mythical mountain kingdom where a young, arrogant emperor named Kuzco (voiced by Spade) is transformed into a llama by one of his advisers. Kuzco's only hope of returning home lies with a good-natured peasant named Pacha. Kuzco begins the adventure back to his kingdom while realizing the errors of his previous ways of life.

Outlook: With a low budget, ""The Emperor's New Groove"" is more of a second-rate project than the usual quality films made by Disney's animators. With both a weak script and lack of major star power, this film will do only somewhat well, and only because the name Disney is attached to the project. The movie will only appeal to those obsessed with Disney films.

Dude, Where's My Car?

Dec. 15

Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott, Jennifer Garner, Marla Sokoloff and Kristy Swanson.

When two dudes wake up from a party, they find that they have forgotten what happened the previous night. All they know is that they are missing their car and that their girlfriends are mad at them for trashing a house and forgetting an anniversary. Now it is up to them to make up with the girls and to find their car.

Outlook: Dude, where's the brain of whoever made this film? Some films are made to be instant classics; this is not one of them. The idea of teen-in-trouble, teen-fixes-problem is not new and has run out of steam. This film is another cheap teen flick made only in the pursuit of not a car, but money.

The Family Man

Dec. 15

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tea Leoni, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Piven, Amber Valletta and Harve Presnell.

Living in New York City, Jack Campbell (Cage) is a man who lives the fast life. This changes one morning when he wakes up to find himself with Kate (Leoni), a woman he never married, and with two kids he never fathered. This alternate life is one that Campbell had the opportunity to begin when he was in college, but rejected it by rejecting Kate. Campbell must make the difficult task of adjusting to his new role as a loving husband and father.

Outlook: ""The Family Man"" is shaping out to be a modern ""It's A Wonderful Life"" that adds to the endless amount of holiday films. With a good script, this film could be one of the better films this holiday season. The ""what if"" plot makes this film a pleasant, sentimental experience that will appeal to most but may be too sappy for some.

Miss Congeniality

Dec. 22

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Benjamin Bratt, Michael Caine and William Shatner.

An unpolished and geeky FBI agent, Gracie Hart (Bullock), must change not only her looks but also her mannerisms for an undercover assignment as a beauty pageant contestant in order to stop a terrorist attack. Hart must not only endure the torturous process of a complete makeover, but also ensure safety at the beauty pageant.

Outlook: This film looks like a decent comedy, with Bullock playing the role of an ugly ducking that becomes a beautiful woman. With the mockery of pageants as a focus and Bullock as a star, this movie is likely to bring out some laughs from what is an otherwise ordinary script.

Cast Away

Dec. 22

Starring: Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt.

Chuck Noland (Hanks) is a man who is always obsessed with the time and his job as a FedEx engineer.

When Noland becomes stranded on a remote island, he must deal with the harsh environment in order to survive. The film deals with Noland's attempt to overcome his physical and psychological ordeals in order to survive and live off the uninhabited island.

Outlook: This film is one of the most anticipated films this holiday season. The teaming of ""Forrest Gump"" director Robert Zemeckis and Hanks will result in a film that is powerfully moving. Hanks, who has shown he has box office might, has not only the ability but also the drive to play a man isolated from all. The film is not just a standard action flick; it's one that challenges the mind and the capability of the soul.

What Women Want

Dec. 15

Starring: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Lauren Holly and Bette Midler.

Nick Marshall (Gibson) gets a new look at life when he has the ability to read the minds of women. This ability proves to be overwhelming for Marshall as he is saturated by the thoughts of what every woman desires. Marshall uses the power to try to outsmart his boss Darcy McGuire (Hunt), but in the process, falls in love and truly understands what all women want.

Outlook: This movie is probably the date flick of the season. With so many stars involved, the movie has the potential to be a strong pull at the box office. The clever idea of the film will make it a good one to watch, but probably not enough to make it a standout.

Review: Albums

Amy Correia

Carnival Love

Capitol

C-

""Carnival Love"" sounds a little like one of Lilith Fair's smaller stage acts revisited. Amy Correia's poetic, fresh lyrics are perhaps the only saving grace in this selection of otherwise static boardwalk songs.

She establishes a somber carnival atmosphere on the opening track, ""Angels Collide."" Hawaiian guitars and Correia's half-sober voice provide a folksy feel to many of the tracks, especially ""He Drives It,"" a humorous take on unrequited love. A couple of exceptions -- the more upbeat ""Daydream Car"" and ""The Bike"" -- flirt with pop potential. Otherwise, the album rarely rises above the tone of a slightly flustered little girl.

-- Charlene Perez


The Wallflowers

(Breach)

Interscope

B+

The Wallflowers are back into their comfortable, sulky rock style. As the follow-up to 1996's ""Bringing Down the Horse,"" the new album stays true to the mellow movement that made the band famous; there are no new tricks.

In Wallflower fashion, laid-back guitars play second string to Jakob Dylan's soft voice, and the band's good-tempered alternative sound plays second string to Dylan's somber lyrics. In ""Hand Me Down,"" Dylan sounds like the frustrated son of a demanding father -- almost certainly a song directed at his real-life, rock icon father. ""I've Been Delivered"" offers the album's first sign of optimism, even though a majority of its lyrics play to a dark atmosphere.

Dylan humbly sings his dreary lyrics over a backdrop of sympathetic guitars throughout the album, but, in its own bleak way, his musical expression is resolved and satisfying.

-- Charlene Perez

Bang, Sizzle, Stomp!

What an amazing show! Call me easily entertained, but I never would have thought it could be so fun to watch a group of people hit a variety of household items together to make music. The original beats and rhythms of each person, done together, produced such a unique form of song. It was great to witness the interactions of the performers, each holding his own character, which developed throughout the show.

The assortment of items used as instruments made the show fun and appealing, while the dancing, incorporated with the making of the music, made it impossible to look away. I was interested and astounded from one set to another at the skill it takes to do what those performers do.

The show was amusing just to watch from the sides, but it was made even more entertaining by audience interaction. Led by one of the performers, the crowd clapped, snapped and stomped along during parts of the show. It was a nice little sample of what hard work it must actually be to dance on stage and hit a bunch of noise-making items at just the right times to fit in with the beat. I appreciated the show so much more when my arms and hands cramped up after 10 minutes of snapping along.

The show was a breathtaking success. Because of its surplus of cleverness and creativity, it's one I wouldn't mind seeing again.

Review: Concert

""Don't let money change ya!"" proclaimed Blackalicious at their show on Nov. 20 at Canes in Mission Beach. True to their word, they have not.

Blackalicious released their EP in 1999 and followed up with their full-length album ""Nia"" in 2000. In the early 1990s, Blackalicious helped to establish the underground hip-hop scene in San Francisco and, even today, continue to stay true to their origin. Known for their funky beats and lyric-induced imagery, Blackalicious are notorious for keeping the crowd perpetually moving and hyped up. Their lyrical skills, fresh originality and interaction with the audience made this show quite possibly the best hip-hop show all year.

Blackalicious' ""Nia"" really struck a chord in the underground with its true hip-hop flavor. Gift of Gab, the group's forefront lyricist, along with producer DJ Chief Xcel, have been creating some of the most innovative, personal and witty lyrics and beats since they started out in 1994. Gift of Gab's talent is stupendous and is not fully graspable until seen in the flesh.

Gift of Gab performed the infamous song ""A to G"" from the new album and finished off with ""Alphabet Aerobics."" These songs consist of a plethora of alliterations and tongue twisters. In addition, the beat gets faster with each consecutive letter so that the lyrics get so swift that they seemingly trip over themselves. However, Gab maintains his breath and pronunciation, though the crowd has to take a deep breath after this performance. His variety in pitch and meter is very distinctive, and matched with Xcel's vintage beats and sampling from the '70s and '80s makes a divine combination. How Gab manages to go from a robotic monotone to a syrupy flow to a ghetto drawl with each song remains a mystery based in his endless talent and repertoire.

Gab is not the only one with shining talent. Gab's partner MC, Lateef, has a lyrical style influenced by dancehall. He gave a stunning performance, and his energy in managing the crowd never seemed to cease. His style of rapping and singing compliments and contrasts with Gab's.

Another highlight of the show was Erinn Anova, whose soulful and powerful voice weaves through the songs and gives emotional punch to their choruses. This trio of innovators never disappoints its audiences.

The performances of ""Deception"" and ""You Didn't Know That Though"" show off the inventiveness of the group's lyrics and beats, which are influenced by tribal sounds and synthesized instruments. The driving rhythms of these songs, along with sing-song choruses, got the members of the crowd involved and bobbing their heads.

Gab and Lateef even did a flow over the beats from the legendary Roger & Zapp. As a contrast to the other beat-heavy songs, ""Shallow Days"" and ""If I May"" are contemplative pieces that flow like storytelling. These lyrics are smart and personal narratives that keep the crowd interested and emotionally connected.

The show was 18 and up, a rare occurrence in San Diego. Because most people 21 and older argue that an 18 and up age requirement makes for an annoying show, it was a surprise that the crowd was more excited and conscious of the music than any pretentious and self-conscious group of young hipsters. Breakdancing circles formed, and kids were practically on top of each other to be near the front.

It was exciting to have San Diego host a group such as Blackalicious. If you don't have their old album or their ""Quannum Projects"" album, or you haven't heard them yet, wake up and give them a listen. Their music is honest and original, not overproduced like much of what crowds the airwaves today.

-- Chako Suzuki

The Hiatus Calendar

Thursday

The performers of Lower Left will use mud, water and their sense of brutal sincerity for their performance and dance act at Sushi Performance & Visual Art in San Diego. There will be strong language and nudity. The show will run through Dec. 3 and again from Dec. 8 to Dec. 10. Call (619) 235-8468 for more information.

Check out ""Gynomite: Fearless Feminist Porn!"" at Dizzy's in downtown San Diego. Eight intelligent and sexy women will tell their stories about sex. The event starts at 8 p.m. and there is a $5 cover charge. Call (858) 270-7467 for more information.

Check out some of the best in indie rock at the Che Cafe on the UCSD campus just east of the Theatre District. Songs: Ohio will headline and will be supported by Damien Jurado, Paris TX and Kind of Like Spitting. The show begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are $6. Call (858) 534-2311 for more information.

Friday

Digital Underground will perform at the Belly Up Tavern. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $15. Call the Belly Up at (858) 481-8140 for more information.

Saturday

Ska-Punk? Punk-Ska? Take your pick when the Aquabats perform at Canes Bar & Grill. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $12. Call Canes form ore information at (858) 488-9690.

The incredible voice of Dave Wakeling which once led the English Beat and General Public can be heard at the Belly Up Tavern. The show starts a 9 p.m. Call (619) 220-TIXS for more information.