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*Sundance starts today! Briefly noted: Film on Proposition 8, Mormons screens in Utah(!); Banksy paints the town in anticipation of Exit Through the Giftshop; Nowhere Boy, film on John Lennon‘s adolescence, to screen (video); this year’s judges include Karyn Kusama and Parker Posey; Snoop Dogg, Nas, and Slightly Stoopid to perform; James Franco plays Allen Ginsberg in Howl (more of a stretch than David Cross, methinks); the Boston Globe tackles last year’s best shorts; the Salt Lake City Tribune spends 9 graphs explaining why we shouldn’t try to predict “buzz” films, predicts 6 “buzz films.”
*ON SALE NOW: Hitherto unseen Lucian Freud self-portrait now on market. And it’s a steal: “It is only the third time a self-portrait of Freud, now 87, has become available through an auction and it is expected to fetch between £3m and £4m when Sotheby’s sells it next month,” the Independent reports.
*MGMT releases new record, Celebration, sans single. “Does this make the band the new Led Zeppelin?” asks the Guardian. And less irrelevantly: Will this shut Celebration out of iTunes?
*After Billboard predicted last week that Vampire Weekend‘s Contra was “on track to have U.S. No. 1 album,” certain individuals declared the “mainstreaming of indie” complete. Now, the Times reports that the band’s second record has moved 124,000 units, seizing the number one spot over…Susan Boyle, who sold ca. 77k. Trailing those two is Ke$ha (67k). Someone get these three onstage together—we could smash more YouTube records than those baby videos!
*The LA Times‘ Todd Martin declares Eminem‘s Relapse a shoo-in for the Grammy; 94% of readers agree, putting Em over Common, Q-Tip, Mos Def, and Flo Rida. If Martin’s right, I’ll be about as bummed as I could be about any Grammy. (Which is to say, mildly; my take on the record here.)
*In this week’s paper, hitting streets today: Reviews of Imperial China, Major Stars, Myra Melford, Creation (the new Chas. Darwin biopic starring Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly), and a three-fer of theater reviews: Stick Fly, In the Red and Brown Water, and I Am My Own Wife.