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How to get laid: The inside scoop for men from a single woman
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How I love Ken Bums, let me, C
By Usa Rat
Dally Books Editor
You're a single male in college. It's Valentine's
Day. What are you going to do? More important-
lV. what would you like to do?
If you're similar to many single guys, what
you're going to do is consume alcoholic bever-
ages with other guys while watching testosterone-
laden movies or TV shows.
If you're similar to many single guys, what
you'd actually like to do is get laid. Completion of
this goal needn't be an impossible mission.
Follow these simple steps and let the "sexual heal-
ing" begin -
1. Find a Date: This should be obvious. Call me
old-fashioned, but I recommend choosing some-
one you actually enjoy spending time with and or
find attractive, not just someone known for being
2. Do Your Research: Find out what your love
(or should I say "sex?") interest does in her spare
time and then investigate accordingly. Here is a
simple example: Say you're dating oh. I don't
know, maybe the Daily Books Editor. Read her
articles, silly! Maybe even go so far as to read
some of the books she has reviewed favorably. No
self-respecting girl is going to sleep with a guy
who takes only a superficial interest in her. But of
course that's just a random example and couldn't
possibly pertain to oh. I don't know, maybe the
author of this article. The bottom line is that if you
want to get laid, it's a good idea to at least give the
illusion that you care.
3. Bring Flowers: Just do it. Trust me.
4. Spend Money: Sure, I could try to be pro-
gressive and politically correct. I could pretend
that all of us girls are so empowered that we
would never let a guy pay for us or even dream of
judging a prospective love interest based on how
much money he has to throw around. But I think
you'd know I was bullshitting you. Spend cash on
Valentine's Day, boys. It's that simple. Take your
lady out for a romantic dinner (no, KFC is not
romantic). Order expensive champagne or wine
(the Beast isn't as high-quality as you think it is).
Afterwards perhaps go to a play or cultural event
to show your sensitive, intelligent side, even if
you don't have one (W.WF is absolutely out of the
question. Don't even think about it). Unless
you're dating Jennifer Lopez - excuse ie,
-1.-o" - love does actually cost something.
5. Do the "Little Things:" Be thoughtful with
regard to your coripliments. Open car doors and
help your date into her coat. Girls love that kind
of thing, and as an added bonus, we'll think you're
a gentleman. It is EXTREMELY important for
your sex interest to perceive you as such because
a gentleman would never take a girl out with the
lone intention of getting laid. Acting politely shall
guard against any suspicions your date may have
about your (already kind of sketchy) intentions.
6. Create a Makeout Plavlist: A must for any-
one who is single, this will help set the right mood
for your post-date activities. There are certain
standards that should be on everyone's list:
Among these seductive grooves are, obviously,
"Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye and anything
by Barry White. And of course, no makeout
playlist would be complete without contemporary
classics such as "Shake That Ass, Bitch" by Booty
Bass and "I Wanna Lick You (from your head to
your toes)" by Ludacris. Just kidding ... sort of.
7. Don't Be Too Obvious: If your date discov-
ers that you are taking her out with the sole ambi-
tion of getting her into bed, she'll probably allow
you to pay for her expensive dinner, sit through
the play you've painstakingly selected listen to
you romantically croon "Let's Get It On" in her
ear and then ... go home and tell her friends about
what a jerk you are, feeling insulted that you have
so drastically underestimated her intelligence.
- Lisa Rajt can he reached at
/rajt(a umnich.edu. and Yes. hors, she is single.
Ken Burns is a sycophant. I'm not trying to be mean
to the award-winning documentary maestro, but I say it
in all earnestness if Burns is willing to be persistent on
insinuating that the tenth episode of his ten-part docu-
mentary "Jazz" was inadequate on purpose.
"I refuse to tell the present what it's about" (my para-
phrasing here), is how I've read him explain it.
Part ten of "Jazz"' "A Masterpiece by Midnight,'
etc From the Vault
So, you just finished a classy
Valentine's dinner. Now you're at home
cuddled up on the couch in candle light
with a fine bottle of red wine to add to
the atmosphere, you go over to the stereo
and put on some music. But what do you
choose? The sexiest man in music. A
man with a voice so deep that it will
make you quiver. It's Stephen Merritt and
The Magnetic Fields.
Stephen Merritt is the founder and
brains behind The 6ths, Future Bible
Heroes, The Gothic Archies and The
Magnetic Fields. The type of songs that
mix pop melodies with timeless war bal-
lads and experimental electronic extrava-
was an insult to anyone who thinks
that there is still hope left for jazz
(and doesn't see Wynton Marsalis
as the saviour saint Burns portrays
him to be).
If Burns really had no interest in
interpreting the present state of
jazz, then he wouldn't have both-
ered making the tenth episode at
all. There would have simply been
no need, no point to make.
Yet Burns is no fool and he cer-
tainly knew all too well that a mas-
sive, corporate-sponsored docu-
mentary with his name stamped
on it would be absorbed by the
masses as "fact" and thus was
aware of his ability to cast whatev-
er shade on jazz history he
His most recent release from
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Magnetic Fields is
"69 Love Songs,"
started out as 100
Songs love songs intended
The Magnetic Fields to be performed at
Merge Records 1999 various cabarets in
Reewed U New York.
Day Arts Wrter However, after real-
Andrew Ken izing the enormous
amount of time and
energy that would go into the project,
Merritt settled on what he thought was
the next best number. 69.
The three-CD set is one of the most
eclectic, witty, and brilliant projects in
recent years. With a revolving cast of
singers and musicians, the album
sounds more like a collection of show
tunes than anything else. It is this
movement that makes the album so
engaging. The work seems to be devoid
of the artist's own emotional obliga-
tions. Merritt creates and writes
through the voices of 69 different char-
acters as they ponder the meaning of
Half of those songs are full of biting
intellectual sarcasm like "The Death of
Ferdinand de Saussure." The other half
of the album is full of poignant songs
about suffering and joy of love. On
"Asleep and Dreaming" Merritt proves
that simple is best in the expression of
So if you have a Valentine, you might
want to pass over The Magnetic Fields
in favor of Marvin Gaye who can really
help you heal that lovin' feelin'. But if
you're alone, don't feel bad. You can lay
in your wrinkled clothing, staring up at
the bubbled paint on your ceiling and
fulfill your voyeuristic impulses by lis-
tening to 69 stories of other people's
Unfortunately, he copped out. He must've gotten
lazy, because anyone who has truly drowned himself in
the sea of extant jazz recordings, perhaps the most
prevalently documented musical recording style in the
history of human civilization, knows that there are far
more interesting things to dwell upon than just the lega-
cies of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.
This is the music that inspired more pasty-skinned
weirdos to lurk alone in dingy basements with their
record collections because of transcendental trombone
licks they heard when they were 13 than all of the
pedantic data crammed into this series put together.
That Burns would take on such a subject is a pretty ball-
sy statement in and of itself. And ... you know, I guess I
can't go blaming Burns for his ignorance, since he has
readily admitted that he knew virtually nothing about
jazz when he first undertook the task of documenting it.
Oh, wait. Yes I can. In fact, I think I'm supposed to.
These days I'm so unsure of what I'm supposed to do
that I'll simply go with my gut instinct and say that I
think Ken Burns is a waste of space and that if I ever
meet him in a bar, it ain't gonna be pretty.
You can tell that he's not a true lover of the music
simply by the fact that he considers Grover
Washington's "Mister Magic" and Herbie Hancock's
"Rockit" (yeah, the one that won everything at the first
MTV Music Video Awards) appropriate to include on
his documentary-inspired, five-compact-disc compila-
And you could tell the music's never really touched
him when he played most of the legendary solos from
Coleman Hawkins' "Body and Soul" and the dinosaur
1942 cut of Charlie Parker's first-figuring-out the
changes to "Cherokee, only to fade the music out dur-
ing each saxophonist's most exciting and intense pas-
sages in favor of dialogue.
Basically, I think it all comes down to the sheer arro-
gance of Burns, who was recently spied by the
International Herald Tribune hawking his wares at a
highfalutin press shindig, claiming he made an alliance
"between two big record companies that normally don't
get along" all for the sake of blessing the public with his
five-disc box set and various other "hugely great jazz"
hits collections marqueed by his name.
"Normally you just get the best of one label," he was
quoted explaining. "I used the power of
Verve Lniversal and Columbia/ Sony to get other labels
to come along. So anybody can now go and get a huge-
ly great jazz collection. Ninety four songs out of the
497 that are in the films. Budget price."
Did'ya hear that kids? Burns'll give you one fifth of
his soundtrack for just 60 bucks! What a deal! I implore
you to run out to your local drugstore today because this
set is certainly almost as comprehensive and revelatory
as the ('e-' similar and still available) set Sony and
Smithsonian released over ten years ago.
In general, the documentary's first seven episodes
weren't awful. Although perhaps a tad mind-numbing-
ly boring (even for a jazz fan) and certainly heavy hand-
ed in their portrayal of jazz as an all encompassing
force that could even rise above America's ever present
and disparate many-coexisting-conflicting-races prob-
lem (one scene was so cloying that it consisted solely of
the pianist Dave Brubeck as he fought back tears
spurred by the remembrance of his first encounter with
a black man), the retrospective did a fair job of cover-
ing the bases of early jazz.
Certainly, I have my carps. Many of the juxtaposi-
tions of photo, music and dialogue were extremely mis-
leading, often pairing conflicting images and music.
Meanwhile, precious little of the soundtrack was ever
Certainly, there were patches of quality film making.
But it wasn't until Episode Eight, "Risk," that Burns
finally reprieved us for a moment from his oppressive,
jazz as black and white music, theme to depict the death
of the alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. It was an ironic
point in jazz history at which to do so, since Parker has
often been characterized as the quintessential jazz casu-
alty, the black genius victimized by his race.
Nevertheless, by simply constructing Parker's self-
destruction as the byproduct of a number of personal
tragedies and bad habits, the portrait was much more
lamentable and interesting than if Burns had just dolled
out more of his he-was-oppressed rigamarole.
In fact, it's a real shame that the documentary could-
n't have been more interesting until this eighth episode,
which finally picked up the pace by substituting
archival film footage of musicians in place of Burns'
trademark slow panning still photo closeups.
Basically, I missed several enticing episodes of
"Temptation Island" to watch what was really a
spruced-up biography of Armstrong and Ellington with
lotsa zoomed-in snap shots. Not that their stories aren't
an integral part of jazz history, but the fact that Burns
focused as much of part ten on how those two musi-
cians ended their careers and died as on discussing the
new music that was created between 1961 and yester-
day is sorta morbid and ends up painting jazz as a muse-
um piece, a phenomenon unique to the 20th Century
that died with its two heroes.
That's the broad picture of Episode Ten, but life is
supposed to be in the details and in this sense getting
specific can show you just how slick a filmmaker
Burns really is. Sure, it seems contrary to state that
Charlie Mingus was "second only to Ellington in the
breadth and complexity of his compositions" and
then spend less than five minutes talking about the
man, but you have to realize that a work of art was in
the making, and to really get the message it's obliga-
tory to understand the editing. Some things had to be
cut and some things had to be repeated in order to
really express something ...
Considering that the documentary's unrelenting
message was that jazz is utterly American, its impro-
visational freedom a mirror of our freedom-embrac-
ing democratic ideals, it was odd in part ten when the
narration's tone about the Art Ensemble of Chicago,
initially praising the group for its musical and cre-
ative independence, suddenly turned despondent, cit-
ing the AEC's small audience as if minimal popular-
ity was a detriment to the band's musical legacy. Mr.
Burns, no doubt, was up to something. ("Ehhhx-cel-
When the subject switched to the pianist Cecil Taylor,
critic Gary Giddins discussed how most listeners have
to train their cars to appreciate his atonal style. "That's
total self-indulgent bullshit, as far as I'm concerned,"
retorted saxophonist Brandford Marsalis. "I mean,
that's what we pay to see them do."(This statement was
certainly the low point of the documentary. In the
episode that most reeked of series "senior creative con-
sultant" Wvnton Marsalis' infamously neoclassicist
approach to jazz history, such a comment was too fla-
grant to come from the political Marsalis brother.
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