Too many liberals suck at thinking for themselves. Bern's success among the youth wing of Hillary Clinton's political base just goes to show how that demographic forgets to be offended if the right buzzwords aren't uttered. James Carville has made a career out of shouting out those very cues at moments opportune for his Democratic clients. For perfecting the technique, fork-tongued Carville will go down in history as the man who figured out how to pass off a civil-liberties-curtailing, drug-war waging, foreign-civilian-bombing, environmentally unfriendly, double-dealing, sexually predatory law-and-order politician as the great left-wing hero of our time. In the meantime, he'll be offering his opinions on Election 2000 on Sunday night at the 92nd St. Y. (11/7, 7:30 p.m., 1395 Lexington Ave. at 92nd St., 996-1100, $20.)
That it's easy to fool people is the axiom Joey Scaggs' 30-year career has hinged on. The professional prankster is a shameless self-promoter, and the political impact he claims for his hoaxes is dubious at best. But some of the gags he's pulled off were pretty funny. In 1994, for instance, he did an infomercial as "psychic attorney Maqdananda," whom civil-case plaintiffs could supposedly hire to tell them if they were going to win or should settle. Maqdananda's answering machine said, "I knew you'd call," but CNN missed the hint and ran the infomercial. Scaggs' entire career is documented at joeyskaggs.com, and he'll speak on "The Art of the Con" Thursday at Housing Works Used Book Cafe. It's a presentation of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting?or, perhaps, this press release I have is not for real. (11/4, 7 p.m., 126 Crosby St., betw. Houston & Prince Sts., 334-3324, free.)
I'm compelled to give Rage Against the Machine the benefit of the doubt and say they're for real, even though they make tons of money for a corporate label and will make an in-store appearance at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square Wednesday evening. (11/3, 6 p.m., 1540 B'way at 46th St., 921-1020.) They make the most powerful rap-metal heard on American radio?a title equivalent in stature to that of the toughest high school gym teacher on Long Island?but Rage might as well be Bad Brains compared to Limp Bizkit. I'm counting on Rage's new The Battle of Los Angeles to end the odious Bizkit's moment. Indoctrinating the kids in liberal groupthink and wowing them with scrawny Public Enemy impressions looked pretty silly back around the time of the first Tibetan Freedom Concert, but today Rage's formula looks more like medicine for the gym-teacher-revering Class of '02.
Yes, it's easy to fool people and hard to instruct them. Most difficult of all is confusing and upsetting audiences to the mental breaking point?at which opportunities for independent thought by people not otherwise so inclined tend to arise. Works by two artist/educators proficient at this method are on view this week. The great Werner Herzog's most recent work, My Best Fiend, is a documentary about his tumultuous relationship with the late Klaus Kinski, star of Herzog's Aguirre, Nosferatu and Fitzcarraldo. Fiend opens Wednesday for a two-week run at Film Forum. (11/3-16, 209 W. Houston St., betw. 6th Ave. & Varick St., 727-8110.) Herzog's genius probably won't be recognized by the mainstream until he's dead and a major Hollywood star gets cast to portray him in a corny biopic. Then institutions will present fawning retrospective packages like the Andy Kaufman one now viewable at the Museum of Television and Radio. (Through 1/30/00, 25 W. 52nd St., betw. 5th & 6th Aves., 621-6600.)
Well I just have something sour to say about everything, don't I? I'm reminded of how NYPress editor John Strausbaugh, before he started calling me "Heimy," used to address me as "You Prickly Fuck." I'm going to give the floor over to Mr. Sunshine in a moment so he can demonstrate the art of spreading joy, but first let me spew bile for two more paragraphs:
Iggy Pop is playing Irving Plaza on Thursday and Friday, and you shouldn't go even if you love Iggy because his new album is astoundingly bad. Maggie Estep's entertaining Black Book story on being Iggy's fuckbuddy (fall issue) would have been a lot more valuable if she'd had the guts to reveal this sad fact. (11/4-5, 17 Irving Pl. at 15th St., 777-6800, $25/$22.50 adv.)
You shouldn't need Maggie to tell you that the new Michael Mann film The Insider, which opens Friday, is a piece of crap?Mann's record (executive producer of Miami Vice, director of Heat), plus the trailers featuring Al Pacino self-righteously hamming it up yet again should tell you all you need to know. But since I have a source who spent six of the worst weeks of his life working on the set of The Insider, I'll convey my secondhand knowledge that the film was made by spoiled, vain, staggeringly wasteful, dimwitted children. So take your $9.75 elsewhere. Save up to spoil your own children with the new Pokemon movie, which opens a week from Friday, on Nov. 12.
Now hear Strausbaugh:
"Rocky Sullivan's, the Black 47 bar in Murray Hill where C.J. Sullivan likes to be, keeps customers busy with Irish lessons some nights, Irish music other nights, and readings at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. This week it's our man William Monahan, whose novel Light House comes out next spring. He'll be reading from the next one after that, called Nothing in the World. I know squat about it except that it's probably very funny and extremely well-crafted. (11/3, 8 p.m., 129 Lexington Ave., betw. 28th & 29th Sts., 725-3871.)
"Michael Garin, the piano man usually heard at the Monkey Bar, has been doing so well at the Duplex the past month that his run there's been extended through the end of the year. Garin's set is a smooth, winking mix of lounge standards and pop chestnuts?tango to Cole Porter to "Mack the Knife" to "King of the Road" (we gave him a "Best Segue" award this year for his Piaf/Fats Domino micro-medley)?and he salts in a few clever originals too. (Sats. Nov. 6, 13 & 20 at 8 p.m., then Mons. through Dec. at 7 p.m., 61 Christopher St. at 7th Ave., 255-5438.)
"My friend Bob Isenhart does cutting-edge research in brain mapping, so it was a bit surprising to find out that his mom back in Ohio, Jeanne Isenhart, is a contemporary Grandma Moses type, painting these nice American Primitive scenes of horse-drawn buggies and Christmas vignettes and all that. She's got work in a large group show called 'Tis the Season' at the Frank J. Miele Contemporary American Folk Art Gallery, opening Tues., Nov. 9, and up through Dec. 31. Shut up and warm your cockles, you prickly fuck. (1086 Madison Ave., betw. 81st & 82nd St., 249-7250.)"
Well that brightened up the mood now, didn't it? In this cleansed forum, I can earnestly report my concert picks, starting with Cavestomp. Actually it's called Cavestomp! '99, but that's a lot of punctuation for the premier garage-rock and primal-punk festival in the entire world. This year Cavestomp runs three days, the first and last of which will feature performances by the legendary Monks. American G.I.s stationed in Germany when they recorded some of the most stripped-down, raw-boned, rocking-for-the-sake-of-rocking rock ever, the Monks have reunited after 32 years to rock some more. Also playing this year's Cavestomp (full schedule at cavestomp.com) are the Chocolate Watchband, Dead Moon, the Standells, the Fleshtones and the 5,6,7,8's. (11/5-7 at the Westbeth Theater, 151 Bank St. at West St., 741-0391, $25 per night or $65 for all three.)
In other Monks news, Monks bassist Eddie Shaw will read from his Monks book Black Monk Time Thursday at Shakespeare & Co. (11/4, 7 p.m., 716 B'way at Waverly Pl., 529-1330, free), and the Monks will be on WFMU (91.1 FM) Sunday afternoon, from 3-5 p.m., in conjunction with this weekend's big annual WFMU Record Fair at Metropolitan Pavilion. (11/5-7,125 W. 18th St., betw. 6th & 7th Aves., 201-521-1416, $5 Sat. & Sun., $20 for Friday-night first pickings.)
The rest is music for grownups: Peruvian diva Susana Baca plays S.O.B.'s Sunday night. This show probably won't measure up to the open-air performance she delivered on a beautiful night in Central Park last summer, but then again, maybe in an intimate club setting she'll be even more captivating. (11/7, 8 & 10 p.m., 204 Varick St. at Houston St., 243-4940, $20.) And lastly, the greatest living example of the turntablist-as-musician, master DJ Rob Swift, does his thing Saturday night at the Cooler. Forget whichever scratch-Yngwie the magazine assholes are hyping this month?Swift will blow your mind. (11/6, with Swift's fellow X-Ecutioner Mista Sinista opening, 416 W. 14th St., betw. 9th Ave. & Washington St., 229-0785.)