1. Soundtrack for Hedwig and the Angry Inch. These songs embody so much of what makes me happy (punk and Broadway, replete with the unrequited pursuit of a soulmate while chasing down your dragons). I know she probably only has an inch herself but who cares if that Amelie chick finds happiness?
2. Pierre or The Ambiguities, by Herman Melville. Just started reading after watching the adapted film POLA X. Beautiful film.
3. Paul Westerberg has a new album coming out.
4. Josh Rouse's last album, Home. Borderline cheesy pop with great vocals and everywoman songs. "I think I've got it all clear/I think I've got it made/I think my plan is safe from laughter."
5. Waking the Dead, by Keith Gordon. So hard to make a good story out of star-crossed love. I heart Billy Crudup.
Zach Hanner: Actor, comedian and music critic
1. Archos 6000 MP3 Player--The same size as your Sony Walkman but able to hold a staggering 6,000 minutes of music, audio books or other data. This thing is "built like an airplane black box" and, at $250, is also reasonably priced. So instead of packing your portable CD player and 150 CDs, just download them all in the Archos and hit the road.
2. In Search of Captain Zero, by Allan C. Weisbecker--A middle-aged surfer leaves his Long Island point break and heads south through Mexico and Central America to find an old friend on the verge of cracking up. A memoir of '70s hedonism and drug smuggling as well as a great road book.
3. www.happyrobot.net--Chock full of ridiculous sound files, daily columns from bi-polar correspondents and tons of stuff about monkeys and robots, this site has a little something weird for everyone. If you haven't met Danny Chambers, you haven't lived.
4. Nathaniel Merriwether presents Lovage: Music to Make Love To Your Old Lady By--Hip-hop producer Prince Paul and Gorrilaz' DJ Dan "The Automator" Nakamura follow up their "Handsome Boy Modeling School" project with this collection of deep beats featuring the steamy vocal of Jennifer Charles and Faith No More's Mike Patton. Guaranteed to set your boudoir on fire.
5. Samurai Jack--The Cartoon Network's best effort to date, Dexter's Laboratory creator Genndy Tartakovsky has created a lone warrior, stoic and powerful, who spends a sliver of each episode setting up the story and 90 percent of it slaying hordes of robot minions. Utilizing comic book styles, traditional Japanese scores melded with global house music and a predictable but riveting story, Samurai Jack is a hero for any era.
Andy Herod: Singer-songwriter-honcho of The Comas
1. man on the flying trapeze, the life and times w.c. fields by simon louvish. where do jokes come from? this book can't answer that question but gives an intense look at one of the early masters of comedy.
2. august, by the standard. portland band makes gorgeous, creepy, jittery, keyboard-driven rock for 2002. this is good.
3. making sock monkeys have penises by pulling their tale forward between their legs. this joke never ever gets old, and it can really bring people together. No recording studio should be without one.
4. 6 feet under. hbo series about a family that runs a funeral home. if you missed this, they are rerunning the first season right now, i guess before the new one. best thing on tv ever, i'm pretty sure.
5. my girlfriend. she is nice and pretty, and i love her.
Finn Cohen: Ex-White Octave guitarist and sometime music critic
1. Various Artists--Chicano Power (Soul Jazz Records)
Before Carlos Santana disgraced himself and the entire genre of "Latin rock," he helped found the Latin musical revolution of the late '60s.This two-disc set includes not only an early Santana recording, but also more obscure works by such artists as Tierra and Azteca, who combine traditional Hispanic arrangements with psychedelic arrangements and fiery guitar solos.
2. The New Wave of Patriotic Bumper Stickers
My personal favorite is the one with a gun superimposed over the American flag with the slogan, "Guns--Now More Than Ever." Honorable mention goes to a homemade flier taped to the inside of a minivan window: a Photoshopped image of a giant bald eagle eating Osama bin Laden.
3. The New Wave of Revenge-oriented Bumper Stickers
See www.changingtheclimate.com to find out why SUV owners will soon be publicly shamed.
4. My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable (www.mnftiu.cc)
Some scathingly hilarious cartoons written by a mysterious local smartass. Ranging from the absurdist, one-panel Karate Snoopy narratives to the more biting commentary of "Get Your War On," this is some funny shit that, beyond the humor, includes some fairly accurate social commentary.
5. The Enron Scandal
This could be a really good thing for the whole country, if the Senate puts an eighth of the attention they put toward the Bill and Monica bullshit into finding out what really went on. Does anyone else notice that the principals involved are named Bush, Dick and Lay?