Music » Culture Jamming

Here are the week's best releases from the pop-culture universe:


CD -- Gram Parsons: Complete Reprise Sessions: There wouldn't be a Wilco or a Ryan Adams without Parsons, who died of a drug overdose in 1973. The country-rock pioneer was a member of both the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Byrds, but his two solo records stand as his most inspired work. This three-disc set compiles both albums -- 1972's GP and the following year's Grievous Angel -- plus loads of outtakes, interviews, and radio performances. Essential.

CD -- Album I and Album II: In the mid-'70s, Loudon Wainwright III (Rufus' and Martha's dad) wrote songs like "Rufus Is a Tit Man," which sealed his rep as a melodic smartass. Before that, he made a pair of earnest singer-songwriter records that got him tagged as the new Dylan. These reissues reveal a budding tunesmith who wasn't above a little witty wordplay, displayed on songs like his goofy ode to parenthood, "Be Careful There's a Baby in the House."

DVD -- Legend of the Wu-Tang: The Videos: The hip-hop crew's first video collection features 14 clips spanning its career. All the hits are here: "Method Man," "C.R.E.A.M.," and "Triumph." So are flash-happy directors like Hype Williams. Extras include a rare 1994 documentary and a video for Masta Killa's "Old Man," which includes Ol' Dirty Bastard's final appearance before his not-so-untimely death in 2004.

VIDEOGAME -- Rampage: Total Destruction: Nothing beats roaming the big-city streets of New York and London with an appetite for destruction. This '80s arcade classic -- updated for PlayStation 2 and GameCube -- stars the game's original trio of monsters, but the real fun starts when you unlock more than 25 other creatures (like a flesh-hungry lion and a snarling ram) to destroy Las Vegas and other urban locales. There's also something totally gratifying about snacking on the tiny mimes.

DVD -- Saturday Night Live Gift Set: After years of ripping us off with crappy Rob Schneider movies, the SNL crew finally throws a bargain our way. This five-disc compilation gathers best-of sets by some of the show's brightest stars: Will Ferrell, John Belushi, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, and Chris Farley. With classic characters like Ferrell's cowbell-playing madman, Sandler's Canteen Boy, and Farley's Chippendales dancer, only Joe Piscopo fans -- both of them -- will be disappointed.

TV -- Woody Guthrie: Ain't Got No Home and Bruce Springsteen -- The Seeger Sessions Live at St. Luke's: PBS presents a pair of programs (starting at 9 p.m. Wednesday) that explore the sociopolitical nature of folk music over the past 50 years. The Guthrie doc takes a look at the singer-songwriter's legacy through vintage performance clips and new interviews. Springsteen's exuberant set captures the Boss and his 16-piece band having the time of their lives as they cover a bunch of old songs written by Guthrie and other left-leaning troubadours.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Nightmares & Dreamscapes: Oh God, not another ho-hum Stephen King adaptation. This time it's a four-week anthology series that premieres on TNT at 9 p.m. Wednesday. William Hurt, Ron Livingston, and William H. Macy sleepwalk through eight stories taken from several of King's books. We've seen the mysterious towns, always-changing paintings, and revenge-minded cons before, but it was never this sleep-inducing.

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