Everybody's favorite adult entertainment company, Vivid, has a very graphic novel out, Vivid Girls Vol. 1. The first story in the book is written by Vegas' own Steven Grant (The Punisher, Frank Miller's Robocop) and is set, naturally enough, in Sin City. In the first chapter, a senator cheats on his wife with a naked Briana Banks while unbeknownst to them both, a naked Mercedez robs him. Later, but still naked, Briana confronts a skinny-dipping Mercedez over the theft that put a kink in her and Sunrise Adams' blackmail plan. As the first part ends, Briana and Sunrise are about to get naked with Mercedez in the back of a limo. In other words, it's Nevada politics as usual.
Vivid Girls Vol. 1 is $14.95 and available at comic stores, adult retailers and at www.vividcomix.com or www.vivid.com.
Timing Is Everything
A new book, The Best Time to Do Everything, lists ... well, you know. Vegas-centric advice includes the best time to get comped at a casino (before you arrive), raise your bet at blackjack (when you know your first card is an ace), deal with a scalper (when a sold-out event isn't), do magic (when nobody's expecting it), play poker over your head (when you're losing badly and the stakes are high), and approach a celeb (after dinner at the valet).
We're keeping the best time to pose nude for Playgirl to ourselves but look for us in the July issue.
The Best Time to Do Everything
Psychic Radio (3.5 stars)
Waiting for Tomorrow
This is catchy stuff. With a little of the studio polish a big-league knob-twiddler could impart to gems like "Time and Again" and "Lies," Pyschic Radio could trounce half the airwax gunking up stations like 94.1. The melodic songwriting and pillowy harmonies are the sort that excite label flacks into spasms of the B-word: "Beatles." This is not the Beatles, no matter what their PR says. It doesn't need to be. Waiting is lively and listenable on its own terms. "I really like that CD you left in the car," my wife said. "My friend Deanna wants to download that band onto her iPod, whoever it is." People, meet Psychic Radio.
Malcolm X (PG-13) (4 stars)
If Spike Lee's epic biopic of the slain civil-rights leader had been released in 2004 instead of 1992, it would be up for Best Picture, and Denzel Washington would be up for his third Oscar. It also would mean Lee still had a career. The inability of X to successfully crossover helped studios maintain the myth that white audiences weren't ready for serious black films. Fact is, most blacks weren't any more eager to watch the movie either, despite it being pretty terrific, as evidenced in this generous two-disc DVD package.
Miami Vice (NR) (3 stars)
The pastels have faded since Miami Vice was in its heyday but this handsome revival makes an excellent case for the show's place in pop-culture history. Legend has it that NBC chief Brandon Tartikoff agreed to greenlight the cop drama based solely on a two-word idea: "MTV cops." The show looked and sounded different than anything else on TV in the '80s. Oddly enough for a cop show, the hot cars and Armani fashions only glamorized the coke dealers who were the bane of Crockett and Tubbs' existence.
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (NR) (3 stars)
Complete Second Season
When Showtime's Penn & Teller: Bullshit! was nominated for a pair of Emmys in reality and writing for nonfiction last year, I wondered how the FCC would react to hearing the title announced. The issue was made moot by its dual loss, but there was no questioning the show's ability to poke holes in such sacred cows as PETA, anti-aging miracle treatments, the funeral industry and 12-step programs. As hosts, the boys are delightfully cynical.
The Notebook (PG-13) (3 stars)
The idea was to create a tearjerker appealing to both teens and parents. The Notebook, adapted from Nicholas Sparks' novel, neatly interlaces two parallel love stories spanning 60 years. One features a poor boy and his upper-class summer love (Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams), while the other uses James Garner and Gena Rowlands to update us on the romance. Too long but pretty affecting.