Continuing the sometimes baffling juxtaposition of flavors, this month's jelly is Ole Homestead Plum Hot Pepper Jelly, which combines the sweet fruitiness of plums with the spiciness of hot peppers. With this sort of jarring taste combination, it's just inviting disaster to then add peanut butter, so at least this month brings a smooth, traditional blend in Sunland 100 Percent Pure Peanut Butter. It's a nice change of pace from the chunky selections of months past, but no match for the overpowering jelly. Even if the Ole Homestead isn't mouth-scorchingly hot, it's still a little much for a pleasant sandwich-eating experience. (2.5 stars)
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Monday's Main Event
Filling the gaps that might allow industry folks to sleep, Vegas Group Entertainment launched the Rock Sushi last Monday at Tao Asian Bistro with a huge blow-out stocked to the rafters with adult trick-or-treaters in every costume imaginable and a line outside the door. DJ 5ive will be the resident, but for the opening, it was all about DJ Korby's rock mixes. Tony Marcum, VGE's senior vice-president, said industry locals will get in free, there will be drink specials and late-night noshing from Tao's amazing kitchen. The lounge will get shaking at 11 p.m. every Monday, and remember, you read it here first.
I'll Always Be Here for You (2 stars)
This is Al Mack's band, with him acting as producer, vocalist, keyboardist, drum programmer and more. When Mack steps back from the mic, the mix of covers and cool jazzy blues are solid enough. But Mack's vocals sound as if they've been mixed at half-speed into a bizarre Isaac Hayes drone, and his rewrite of "My Funny Valentine" invoking nuclear physics is ill-conceived at best.
KÀ Extreme (NR) (3 stars)
Until the debut of Kà at the MGM Grand, the words "industrial strength" and "Cirque du Soleil" rarely were strung together in the same sentence. Yet Las Vegas' most technically advanced and expensive production show is the very definition of industrial-strength theater. Noteworthy both for its monumental, Rust Belt-inspired stage and pan-Asian artistry, Kà can be enjoyed as much by an engineer as an acrobat. Kà Extreme does a nice job documenting the show's evolution, and details the contributions of those responsible for the choreography, daredevil acrobatics, makeup, music and fashion. It's sold at Cirque souvenir stores and through www.cirquedusoleil.com.
Aliens of the Deep (G) (3 stars)
First, the bad news: James Cameron's latest deep-sea documentary is shown neither in its original large-frame format nor in 3-D; the good news is another 45 minutes of material captured on the ocean's floor. Typical of IMAX releases, Aliens of the Deep tells a story that is both fun to watch and loaded with nutrition. The expedition, following a team of submersibles to the furthest nether regions of our planet, is no mere ego trip. Marine life and geological samples from lava beds and geysers could unlock the secrets of sun-deprived planets and ice-covered moons in our solar system. There's no doubting Cameron's enthusiasm for the project and respect for the international team of scientists, engineers and former astronauts. Even on TV, the high-res cinematography remains nothing short of spectacular.
Marianne Faithfull: Live in Hollywood (NR) (4 stars)
Those not familiar with blond chanteuse Marianne Faithfull might try to imagine Courtney Love had she lived in '60s London instead of grungy Seattle. If Love is lucky, she'll follow Faithfull's lead, embarking on a second career as a singer of songs that matter both to her and audiences who've traveled similar roads. All the evidence she'd need is contained in the new performance-DVD/CD, recorded at a concert celebrating the 40 years in show business many feared she'd never live to see.