Michael Moore Greets The Common Folk

We're one short of the "rule of three," but I'm sensing a new trend in the rap world -- or at least for the Roc-a-Fella label: Premiere screenings for music videos.

Jay-Z did it for the Mark Romanek-directed "99 Problems" video, and now Kanye West (One of the few humans who can pull off a Gucci backpack) has done it for "Jesus Walks." Both screenings were at the TriBeCa Screening Room, but here's a nice twist that Kanye threw in: he made three videos for the same song.

The Times reports that one will air on MTV, a "controversial" second one will be sent down to the basement -- also known as MTV2 -- and a cheaply-produced third version will be available on MTV.com, which has their own version of events from the screening posted.

Here's a summary of that allegedly risque clip, which the Times writer described as "O Brother, Where Art Thou? meets Birth of a Nation, sprinkled with a pinch of Traffic":

Vivid black-and-white shots of a chain gang working barren land are spliced with images of a dedicated Ku Klux Klansman toiling with all the sweat his beefy brow can muster to build a giant cross. Also featured in that video is a Bonnie-and-Clyde-like pair of drug traffickers. Just as federal agents are carting them off, the cocaine stashed in the trunk of their car morphs into a flock of doves.

The Bowery: From Glum to Glam

So the Village Voice is trotting out a special series this week called "An Elegy for the Bowery," a group of articles that ruminate on the lurid history of the slummy street while bemoaning its current stature as an on-the-rise developers' mecca.

But amidst all the romanticizing of the Bowery's sordid past (pity us for thinking that the "Bowery bum" was not "a living, breathing cautionary tale for the burgeoning American middle class," but rather a living, breathing cautionary tale for the burgeoning allure of Georgi), it takes some tough talk from a surprise source to finally cut through the flowery language and tell it to us straight:

You know what? He's absolutely right. And whose wise words are these? Who lays claim to this handful of sentences that makes us feel like assholes for ever casting something other than a smile at Libation? Why, none other than CBGB founder Hilly Kristal, who will probably be forced out of his legendary space on the Bowery because of surging rents brought on by this latest real estate wave.

Hmmm, can you hear that? Those odd sounds emanating from...well, it sounds like it's coming from the southeast? Yes, very strange indeed. Like a flurry of Boobah farts. Oh wait, it's just all the air escaping from the anti-gentrification balloon. Oh, cruel defeat!