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BY CLIF GARBODEN

THURSDAY 9

1:00 (44) Passing Gas with David Tucson: The Power of Digestion. Inspirational speaker, and bestselling author of Who Moved My Laxative?, Tucson explains his formula for personal fulfillment using the human digestive system as a grand metaphor for interpersonal relations. Or it might just be more Auction. (Until 7 p.m.)

7:00 (2) Ultimate Makeover. Makeover teams offer whole-bodied contestants the chance to live the rest of their lives as amputees. But alas, itís really just that damn Auction. (Until 11 p.m.)

9:00 (6) Basketball. Game #1 of the NBA Finals, with the Detroit Pistons meeting the San Antonio Spurs.

FRIDAY 10

1:00 (44) Bully for You. This new reality series pits eight teenage nerds against a high-school dream team (one cheerleader, one jock, one kid with a Jaguar) whose goal is to eliminate contestants through mindless humiliation until thereís just One Nerd Standing. But really, this is just more of that damn Auction. (Until 7 p.m.)

7:00 (2) The Auction. It was a warm summerís night, and everything on the commercial networks was a repeat. The cable stations were all airing Master and Commander or Law & Order reruns. The weary watcher turned to PBS for relief. But instead of finding something educational, intellectual, sophisticated, or important, he/she found PBS once again raising money to support a regular program schedule that as often as not is overtaken, degraded, and disrupted by more fundraising. And all this preserves the non-commercial purity of public television?! In reality, public TV has come close to destroying itself in the name of supporting itself, and the truly fine programming that PBS produces and airs gets lost in a sea of begging (which drains into the swamp of shoddy fundraising programming). This isnít right. This is more of the tyranny of the ignorant that brought us our current idiot president and pointless war. PBS hasnít exactly caved. Itís not as if it were running anti-Darwin documentaries to pander to the morons. But PBS has been starved of government funding to the point where it could easily become irrelevant. That would be a real loss. What can you do? Contribute? Sure, but you canít really fund PBS; the peopleís TV is too expensive for the people to support. What we need to do is create a cultural climate where corporations and foundations see it as being in everybodyís best interest to back intelligent television. And that canít happen as long as the Bible thumpers and mouth breathers control American politics. So fight the culture war and win; itís our only chance. (Until 11 p.m.)

SATURDAY 11

1:00 (2) The Auction. Oh, hell. We thought it was over last night. (Until 11 p.m.)

3:00 (64) Baseball. The Sox versus the Chicago Cubs.

4:30 (44) Another Woman (movie). Repeated from last week. Woody Allenís 1988 psychological drama about a reclusive authoress who overhears conversations from the psychiatristís office next door. Gena Rowlands, Mia Farrow, and Gene Hackman star. (Until 6 p.m.)

5:30 (10) The Belmont Stakes. Less interesting now that rubbernecking Snappy T has been declared out. "Ooh, look at all these people. What a crowd. Hey, is that Tom and Katie? Oops, sorry, Alex, did I step on you again?" Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and Preakness winner Afleet Alex will be back and happy not to have to dodge Snappy as they charge down the stretch.

8:00 (44) The Purple Rose of Cairo (movie). More Woody Allen. This time, itís his peculiar 1985 Mia Farrow vehicle in which she plays a Depression-era actress whose favorite leading man steps out of a movie screen and into her life. Jeff Bridges co-stars. (Until 9:25 p.m.)

9:25 (44) Bananas (movie). From Woody Allenís less-complicated/easier-to-enjoy period. Allen plays a nebbish who joins a Latin American revolution to win the hand of Louise Lasser. (Until 11 p.m.)

11:00 (2) Soundstage. Part one of two shows featuring music from Sheryl Crow. (Until midnight.)

3:00 a.m. (2) Independent Lens: A Lionís Trail. Can you hum a few bars of "Mbube?" Perhaps not, but you could probably make a stab at the folk song it inspired, "Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)." This film traces the origins of that song back to its 1939 Zulu composer, who, this contends, never made a penny from its international sales. To be repeated on Sunday at 10 p.m. on Channel 44, and on Thursday at 2 a.m. back on Channel 2. (Until 4 a.m.)

SUNDAY 12

11:30 a.m. (2) Ask This Old House. Apparently there are a number of questions. Editions of this builderís show run non-stop through late afternoon. (Until 6:30 p.m.)

9:00 (2) Mystery: Miss Marple: The Body in the Library, parts one and two. Agatha Christieís Miss Marple ó ably played by Geraldine McEwan ó investigates the murder of a hotel dancer whose body is found miles away in the St. Mary Mead library of Janeís friend Colonel Bantry. James Fox and Joanna Lumley co-star. (Until 11 p.m.)

9:00 (12) Shanghai Noon (movie). Jackie Chan teams up with Owen Wilson for this extreme action comedy about a member of Chinaís Imperial Guard who sent to the Old West to rescue a kidnapped princess. The title alone makes it worth watching. (Until 11 p.m.)

9:00 (6) Basketball. Game #2 of the NBA Finals.

9:00 (44) Independent Lens: Keeping Time: The Life, Music, and Photographs of Milt Hinton. Hinton (1910Ė2000) was a jazz bassist who photographed the jazz scene on and off stage over the course of his long career. This show looks at the history of American music and race relations in the 20th century through his eyes. To be repeated on Thursday at 1 a.m. on Channel 2. (Until 10 p.m.)

11:00 (44) Austin City Limits. Featuring music from Lyle Lovett and Jamie Cullum. To be repeated on Thursday at 3 a.m. on Channel 2. (Until midnight.)

Midnight (2) Independent Lens: The Amasong Chorus: Singing Out. The story of lesbian musician Kristina Boergerís efforts to form a world-class womenís chorus in small-town Illinois. To be repeated on Monday at 10 p.m.(Until 1 a.m.)

MONDAY 13

9:00 (2) Great Performances: Operatunity. In America, people get jobs with Donald Trump on TV shows. In Britain, people become opera stars by similar contest. A film about the English National Operaís nationwide search for someone with no operatic experience to sing in Verdiís Rigoletto on the stage of the London Coliseum. To be repeated tonight at 1 a.m. on Channel 44, and at 4 a.m. on Channels 2 and 44. (Until 10:30 p.m.)

9:00 (6) Men in Black 2 (movie). Barry Sonnenfeldís 2002 sequel to his 1997 hit reunites Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith as secret agents assigned to police the aliens among us. Rip Torn and Laura Flynn Boyle co-star. (Until 11 p.m.)

10:30 (2) Amato: A Love Affair with Opera. We now turn to Americaís peculiar opera story ó that of Sally and Tony Amato, a New York couple who in 1948 started their own opera company and housed it in a modest brownstone, where they work with young talent and do full-scale productions. (Until 11:30 p.m.)

TUESDAY 14

7:30 (2) La Plaza: Conversations with Ilan Stavans: Willie Perdomo. East Harlem Puerto Rican poet Perdomo talks about how he almost threw away his writing career for drug addiction. (Until 8 p.m.)

8:00 (2) Nova: World in the Balance: The People of Paradox. Is it getting crowded in here? The paradoxes stem from global-population stats. The world population didnít hit a billion until 1804. Itís now at 6.3 billion, and we add a billion every 12 years of so. Meanwhile, the population profiles vary drastically from country to country. This special looks at India, whose high birth rate will soon cause its population to outpace Chinaís; Japan, where most people are over 60 and the government is begging women to bear children; and sub-Saharan Africa, where AIDS and other diseases are killing off people from 20 to 60 and leaving the very young and the very old to deal with things. To be repeated tonight at 1 and 3 a.m. on Channel 44, and at 4 a.m. back on Channel 44. (Until 9 p.m.)

8:00 (44) Globe Trekker: Beijing City Guide. We were quite happy to call it Peking, and then somebody decided weíd been spelling it wrong for more than 200 years. Megan McCormick, the Trekker who shops too much, tours the Chinese capital from the Forbidden City to Tiananmen Square, shops, samples odd foods, and takes day trips to the Great Wall and the Marco Polo Bridge. To be repeated tonight at 2 a.m. on Channel 2. (Until 9 p.m.)

9:00 (6) Basketball. Game #3 of the NBA Finals.

10:00 (2) Hope Along the Wind: The Life of Harry Hay. An award-winning documentary on the life of Hay, who laid the foundation for the gay-rights movement during the dark days of McCarthyism when he founded the first gay-rights organization, the Mattachine Society. (Until 11 p.m.)

10:00 (44) National Geographic Specials: Inside Mecca. Of the planetís 6.3 billion people (see Nova at 8 p.m.), a billion of us are Muslim. Geographicís cameras follow pilgrims into the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia as they fulfill their religious obligation to renew their spiritual dedication at Muhammadís birthplace.

WEDNESDAY 15

8:00 (2) Live from Lincoln Center: Shahamís Sibelius. Violinist Gil Shaham performs Sibeliusís Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel. Also on the bill: Debussyís Prélude à líaprès-midi díun faune and Rousselís Bacchus et Ariane Suite No. 2. To be repeated tonight at 1 a.m. on Channel 44, and at 4 a.m. on Channels 2 and 44. (Until 10 p.m.)

8:00 (44) Battlefield Britain: Hastings. Everybody knows the date (1066) of the Norman Conquest and the Battle of Hastings, and now you can learn the strategies behind William of Normandyís history-changing victory over British King Harold. To be repeated tonight at 1 a.m. on Channel 2. (Until 2 a.m.)

10:00 (2) Speaking with Music. Behind the scenes at the first New York Piano Competition and its 22 contestants, ages 14 through 18. (Until 11 p.m.)

THURSDAY 16

7:30 (2) Basic Black: Flippiní the Script. Guest host Robin Chandler talks with local poets about their words, their passions, and their communities. (Until 8 p.m.)

9:00 (6) Basketball. Game #4 of the NBA Finals.

9:00 (2) Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud. A dramatization of an imaginary debate between atheist Sigmund Freud and "reasoned" Christian C.S. Lewis. The idea is based on a Harvard course taught by Dr. Armand Nicholi Jr. Sounds super heavy, but itís not even ponderous. Give it a shot, if only to compensate for the Auction. (Until 11 p.m.)

9:00 (10) Hit Me Baby One More Time. Arrested Development won (and deserved to win) week one of this battle of the once-famous pop stars. And CeCe Peniston was an obvious second. Not to make a racial deal out of everything, but we suspect a trend here. Acts like Loverboy and A Flock of Seagulls and even the clearly beloved Tiffany have all gained weight and lost their delivery. The roots/soul acts tend to withstand the rigors of time a bit better. As of this writing, NBC hadnít released the contestant list for week three, but we do know that sometime this summer weíre going to see Wang Chung, Irene Cara, and Sophie B. Hawkins. Get up to date at www.nbc.com/nbc/Hit_Me_Baby/index.shtml. (Until 10 p.m.)


Issue Date: June 10 - 16, 2005
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