PAPERBOY: ‘Infamous Cookie Crumb Duster’ Edition

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paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!

ON THE COVER

CP: You loved his tasteful but soulful rendition of the National Anthem during the World Series. You cringed when Fred Armisen portrayed him as a McCain supporter on SNL. Now, dig John Oates in CP, rendered kind of Picasso-ish on the cover and as a slick, buff cartoon character inside. He’s got a new album out, but don’t call it a comeback. The real resurgence here is occurring underneath the noses of men across America.

John Oates’ mustache has become a pop-culture phenomenon almost wholly removed from the musician cp_2008-11-20.jpghimself. And far from simply indulging an irony-obsessed generation, Oates has jumped on the bandwagon. He’s developing an animated series, J-Stache, in which he provides the voice of his family-man self (pictured, opposite) and comedian Dave Attell voices his mustache.

“My mustache is actually an evil superhero,” Oates explains. “I’m trying to lead the good life and leave all that rock ‘n’ roll craziness behind, but the mustache is trying to drag me back into it. There’s also a cult of mustachioed entertainers, but I really can’t go into too much detail. It’s really funny, really hip and cool.”

Still, despite the newfound and somewhat inexplicable popularity of his facial hair and the fact that by his own admission, “the mustache is back in style,” Oates insists that it’s gone for good, its removal invested with a bit more personal importance than the simple act of shaving might imply.

I’m thrilled that folks are reclaiming the ‘stache from the Ned Flanderses of the world, but Oates’ post-‘stache transformation is nothing short of remarkable. Dude played with Bela Fleck on his new album and took time in the middle of his career to become a pilot, drive race cars, and travel around the world? Never before have my life and the space above my upper lip seemed like such a waste.

PW: Consider this: at the holidays, is it really the thought that counts? Nuh-uh. You want what you want, whether it’s pretty or practical. With this year’s financial troubles, you may not get exactly what you’re looking for. Tough. But a thought-donation to a local charity won’t cut it, and they’re the ones who are really going to get the short end during this economic downturn. Here’s how LizSpikol spins it in her intro to PW’s Holiday Guide:

pwholidayguide.jpgIn these times, nonprofits and philanthropic organizations get hit hard. Charity is seen as a luxury, and donations—along with magazine subscriptions—are the first thing to go. In Saturday’s New York Times, M.P. Dunleavy wrote, “The fallout from the financial crisis is striking nonprofit groups and charities fast and hard. As much as people might like to sit still until their own finances feel stable again, many nonprofit agencies need additional support now.”

That’s because needs for services surge when the economy is bad. “We have seen an increased need from people who are facing foreclosure, job loss and decreased work hours,” the Rev. Michael M. Boland, chief executive of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, told Dunleavy. “We have seen an increase in the number of requests for our emergency services, which include food pantries and hot dinners for the hungry and homeless.” When you decide to be charitable despite your hardships, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start, and for which cause. And many people think giving to charities is only about money, which then makes them retreat, with a guilty shrug.

The Holiday Guide goes on to spotlight worthy non-profits who could use a little generosity this season. Your support doesn’t have to be monetary, either. Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic needs readers; Project Great Potential needs mentors. Every group PW singles out is worthy of your time (or money, if you can spare it), whether they’re helping prisoners with literacy, early childhood development or high school students get organized, so don’t worry about your wallet. Just be sure to bundle up before you go.

INSIDE THE BOOK

CP: Branding master Sol Sender shows us his “O” Face. I’ll take any excuse to wear a tux. La Boheme: Way more than just the inspiration for “Rent.” Isaiah Thompson’s reporting: Out of Fishtown, and into the fire.

PW: Riding on a scooter in winter: cold. Getting flipped off by a little kid at a stoplight: even colder. Craig Lindsay is pissed: Look for the first line of this review on a poster at Friday night’s show. Like Adam Erace, I, too, am a three-chili rating kind of guy. Assflaps and juice glasses: This year’s gift guide.

WINNER: CP takes it by what’s underneath John Oates’ nose. It’s strangely mesmerizing. I can’t look away…

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