Greek travel consultant readies his red cards

If you want to watch the World Cup and understand the back story -- not just of the sport but of the societies the teams represent -- Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey have just the book for you.

“The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup” features essays on all 32 competing nations written by folks like novelists Tim Parks (who has lived in Italy for 25 years and is a rabid fan of Verona’s team and who writes the Italy chapter here), Robert Coover (Spain), Henning Mankell (Angola), John Lanchester (Brazil) and Caryl Phillips (Ghana); literary pop star Dave Eggers (who writes about the U.S.); and “Fast Food Nation” author Eric Schlosser (Sweden). Of course, no such book would be complete with a Nick “Fever Pitch” Hornby (England).

But, wait there’s more. There’s a recap of the 2002 tournament and editors Weiland and Wilsey, like good American sports fans, also dish up the numbers. There are stats of all kinds on the 32 nations and 12 pages of World Cup stats, including my favorite, a chart of all the World Cup winners since 1930 and the form of government in the winner’s country (1930, Uruguay, fragile democracy; 1950, Uruguay, emerging democracy; 1978, Argentina, military junta; 1986, Argentina, emerging democracy).

This list forms part of New Republic editor Franklin Foer’s afterword, “How to Win the World Cup,” which opens with the question, “if we were to take up arms (to guarantee a winning soccer team) what kind of government would we want to install?”

Another interesting chart lists the tournament referees, their ages, their home nations and what they do for a living (Lubos Michel is a car tire sales manager at home in Slovakia, Kyros Vassaras [pictured]is a Greek travel consultant and Mohamed Guezzaz teaches geography in Morocco).

On June 13, four days after the kick off of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Wilsey visits Schwartz Bookshop, 2559 N. Downer Ave. at 7 p.m. to talk about the book and the tourney. Admission …Read more...

We shoulda gone to see We Are Wolves

If you're like us, you're kicking yourself for not checking out Montreal's We Are Wolves last night at the Cactus Club.

The band's debut disc, "Non-Stop Je Te Plie En Deux," on Fat Possum Records, sounds like a danceable rock band's tape run through an old synthesizer set on "stun."

Electronic beats mix with a live drummer, there are hints of '80s new wave and '90s Prodigy hues. Then there are numbers like the eerie instrumental "Namaï-Taïla-Cambodge (Go-Tabla-Go)," which defy comparison.

The pictures in the booklet showing the band on stage suggest that the band needs to be seen live to really be appreciated. And how they bring this mix of live and electronic together onstage would be something to see.

Of course, if you saw We Are Wolves with IfIHadaHiFi last night in Bay View, then you already know. Tell us what you saw using the talkback feature below.

Moffitt jets off on last-minute tour

Julie Moffitt, who celebrated the release of her "The Stolen EP" earlier this week at Centanni in the Third Ward announced today in an e-mail that she has been invited to join The Hit and Run Tour.

Moffitt describes the tour as, "a month-long national tour featuring two other amazing singer/songwriters!"

She adds, "This is a dream come true for me. I've been imagining my first real tour since i was a little girl, and suddenly, with no warning and no planning on my part aside from a plane ticket and a new ATA-approved case for my keyboard, I'm on the road! I'm in heaven!  Well, actually, I'm in the international terminal at the San Francisco airport, waiting with my luggage for Martha Berner and Arrica Rose to arrive from L.A. with Adam Levy for our first show."

The tour, which runs through the end of June stops in San Francisco, Fresno, Berkeley, Tucson, Albuquerque, Denver, Davenport, Iowa, Lake Geneva, Madison, Milwaukee (at the Art Bar on June 16), Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville, Columbus, Ga., Charlotte, NC, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Moffitt's Web site is http://www.julielle.com and her My Space site is
http://www.myspace.com/juliemoffitt.

Beef-A-Roo whips up a Tricky omelet

The Beef-A-Roo Experience's seven-track disc, "John Denver Omelet," is out now, according to main man Ron Faiola -- drummer, singer and guitarist -- who was a member of Couch Flambeau back in the day.

The disc features six Cheap Trick covers and a version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Bite It," which, unsurprisingly, also has a C.T. pedigree.

Also in the ad hoc rock outfit are veterans like Jay Tiller (Couch Flambeau), Dale Kaminski (Liquid Pink), Lisa Jebson and Germany's Kai Fritzschen. Milwaukee musical trainspotters may note that this is the first time former bandmates Tiller and Faiola have recorded together in 18 years.

Faiola has long been a Cheap Trick fan and produced two volumes of the multi-disc "AMCT" Cheap Trick tribute series.

"In March 2001 Kai was here in the U.S. to see Cheap Trick play in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Rockford," Faiola says. "Since Kai knew I had been in a Cheap Trick cover band -- Chick Treat with Tiller, (Die Kreuzen and Decapitado's) Dan Kubinski and Rockhaus Guitars' Greg Kurschewski -- he asked if he and I could record a Cheap Trick cover for the "AMCT Volume 4" CD.

"To round out the band, I asked Dale Kaminski to play bass and our friend Lisa Jebsen from Texas was coming in for the same shows and I asked her to do the vocals."

Jebsen was a good choice; she sounds alarmingly like Cheap Trick lead singer Robin Zander on some tunes.

"The hardest part of a CT song is the vocals and since Lisa is an actress, doing musicals and such, I thought she'd be able to handle Robin Zander's vocal range," says Faiola. "Boy did she ever!"

To their credit, the Beef-A-Roos don't do the covers you'd expect on "John Denver Omelet," which was recorded when everyone got together in Milwaukee in February to witness Cheap Trick's two-night stand at Potawatomi Casino. In fact, they've mined much of the material from lesser-appreciated Cheap Trick discs. And the Hawkins song is a tune that CT often performed onstage.

"(CT drummer) Bun E. (Carlos) w…

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